What is Streamline Moderne?
Streamline Moderne is a style of architecture that emerged in the United States during the 1930s, during the Great Depression. It was a response to the Art Deco movement, which had dominated the design world during the 1920s. Streamline Moderne borrowed many of the same design elements as Art Deco, such as geometric shapes and bold colors, but it also introduced new elements such as sleek, curved lines, and streamlined forms.
Streamline Moderne was heavily influenced by the look of modern machines such as airplanes, trains, and automobiles, and this is reflected in the design of buildings that were constructed in this style. Architects used materials such as glass, steel, and concrete to create buildings that looked like they were in motion, even when they were standing still. The use of rounded corners, curved shapes, and smooth surfaces was also a hallmark of the Streamline Moderne style.
Understanding Streamline Moderne Architecture
One of the areas where Streamline Moderne was particularly popular was in the design of buildings related to transportation, such as airports, train stations, and bus terminals. These buildings were designed to reflect the speed and efficiency of modern transportation, and often featured long, sweeping curves, and sleek, streamlined shapes. Commercial and residential buildings were also designed in the Streamline Moderne style, with features such as porthole windows, curved balconies, and stylized nautical motifs.
Overall, the Streamline Moderne style was an important part of the evolution of modern architecture in the United States. It helped to usher in a new era of design that was focused on functionality, efficiency, and speed, and it continues to influence architects and designers to this day.
Some of the most prominent buildings designed in the Streamline Moderne style include:
- The Pan Pacific Auditorium in Los Angeles, California – Built in 1935, this oval-shaped building was designed by architects Wurdeman and Becket. The building was used for concerts, conventions, and sporting events until it was destroyed by fire in 1989.
- The Union Bus Terminal in Chattanooga, Tennessee – Built in 1939, this building was designed by the architect, Harry J. Carlson. The building features a curved façade, stainless steel trim, and a clock tower.
- The Bacardi Building in Havana, Cuba – Built in 1930, this building was designed by architects Rafael Fernández Ruenes and Esteban Rodríguez-Castells. The building is noted for its use of Art Deco and Streamline Moderne elements.
- The Texaco Building in Houston, Texas – Built in 1936, this building was designed by architect Robert V. Derrah. The building features a curved façade, a tall spire, and decorative friezes.
- The Greyhound Bus Station in Columbia, South Carolina – Built in 1938, this building was designed by architects J.E. Sirrine and Hyman Wallace. The building features a curved façade, a tall clock tower, and a glass-block ticket booth.
- The Strand Hotel in Yangon, Myanmar – Built in 1935, this building was designed by architect Thomas Oliphant Foster. The building features a streamlined façade, an elegant lobby, and a rooftop terrace.