According to Alan Higgins “Architectural Movements of the Recent Past” guide,
“Googie architecture has its roots in California coffee shops of the 1940s. Designed by John Lautner, the stores featured vaults, glass walls, arches, and angles that seemed to defy space. Googie originates from a specific coffee shop at the corner of Sunset Blvd and Crescent Heights, designed by Lautner. The term became an accepted style after it was published in a 1952 House and Home magazine article. Populuxe is derived from a book of the same name, published by a social critic Thomas Hine in 1986, and it refers to the whimsical, futuristic aspirations for a luxurious lifestyle that were evident throughout the mid-twentieth century. Although the style became a joke to some serious architects, the style was immensely popular with the public and benefited from the increased consumer culture. Googie designs became commonplace in coffee shops, car washes, commercial strips, drive-ins, etc. Some residential designs also incorporate elements of Googie.
Googie architecture is based upon the optimism and futuristic desires of mid-twentieth century consumer culture. Designs often incorporated upswept rooflines, which allowed for large, plate glass windows on the façade. Large concrete domes may also be found over a Googie structure, with low, sweeping lines reaching toward the ground. Structures often have exposed steel beams, sometimes with decorative Patterns Cut out of the steel. Frequent use of neon is common and many of these buildings have large elaborate signage, either freestanding or incorporated into the side of the building. In residential Architecture, the Googie influence s evidenced in low sweeping rooflines with broad eaves, angled bands of windows, sharply angled porch supports, and inverted triangles. ”
- Cantilevered structures
- Acute angles
- Illuminated plastic paneling
- Plate glass windows
- Integration of natural and synthetic materials
- Use of large pole or pylon signs integrated into the roofline or the building, with bold lettering
- Freeform and palette shapes
- Roofs slope at various angles
- Use of inverted triangle
- Elaborate signage
- Higgins, Alan. Architectural Movements of the Recent Past, PDF.
- Higgins, Alan. “Googie” . Architectural Movements of the Recent Past , PDF