Googie Architecture

What is Googie Architecture?

The Googie architecture style emerged in the United States in the late 1940s and peaked in popularity during the 1950s and 1960s. It was characterized by futuristic and playful designs that incorporated elements such as geometric shapes, bold colors, and a space-age aesthetic.

Googie architecture was heavily influenced by the rise of the automobile culture and the space race, which led to a fascination with technology and innovation. It was also a response to the postwar economic boom, as cities began to expand, and new businesses sought attention-grabbing designs to attract customers.

Here are some prominent Googie examples from both the past and present:

  • The Theme Building at Los Angeles International Airport, designed by William Pereira and Charles Luckman (1961)
  • The Viper Room nightclub in West Hollywood, California, designed by Armet & Davis (1993)
  • The former Norms Restaurant on La Cienega Boulevard in Los Angeles, designed by Louis Armet and Eldon Davis (1957)
  • The former Johnie’s Coffee Shop on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, designed by Armet & Davis (1956)
  • The former Holiday Bowl in Los Angeles, designed by Armet & Davis (1958)
  • The former Bob’s Big Boy Restaurant in Burbank, California, designed by Wayne McAllister (1949)
  • The former Pann’s Restaurant in Los Angeles, designed by Eldon Davis and Helen Liu Fong (1958)
  • The former Ship’s Coffee Shop in Westwood, California, designed by Arthur W. Munson (1956)
  • The former Tower Records store on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, designed by A.C. Martin & Associates (1960)
  • The Space Needle in Seattle, Washington, designed by John Graham & Company (1962).

Understanding Googie Architecture

The term “Googie” is believed to have originated from a coffee shop in Los Angeles called Googies, which was designed by architect John Lautner and featured many of the signature elements of the style. Other notable architects associated with Googie architecture include William Pereira, Armet & Davis, and Charles Luckman.

Googie architecture was particularly popular in California and other western states, where it was used for a wide range of building types, including diners, motels, gas stations, and even homes. However, the style began to decline in popularity in the 1970s as tastes shifted towards more minimalist and understated designs.

Today, Googie architecture is remembered as a quintessentially American style that captured the spirit of postwar optimism and technological progress. Many examples of Googie buildings still exist, although some have been demolished or altered beyond recognition.

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