Tag Archives: modernism

ARCHITORTURE: WHEN DESIGN WENT GOOGIE-EYED

Architectural styles are subject to the tastes, fashion and trends of a given era. Some architecture stands the test of time. Some age less gracefully and can quickly, embarassingly look dated. Sometimes these become the targets of aesthetic derision, only to become “re-discovered” and re-appreciated decades later and once again deemed “cool.”

The futuristic “Googie” architecture of the 1960sis one example. It is both loved and loathed, but its historical significance cannot be overlooked, especially as time passes and surviving examples of it become fondly familiar landmarks. 

Many examples of Googie can be found throughout Los Angeles and Southern California in the form of homes, diners, motels, gas stations, and car washes, like the one pictured here in Santa Monica. The car wash, that essential feature of L.A. car culture, was especially prone to expressions of Googie style.

Googie originated in Southern California, where it was influenced by the emerging space age, jet travel and ever more reliance on the car in the American post-War era. The style is a modern architectural offshoot of the Futurism and part of the American Mid-Century Modern style.

In Berlin … The Vintage Modern Entrance to the Staatsbibliothek Berlin

Pictured below is the entrance to the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin building, or Berlin State Library, in the German capital. The building is a sprawling piece of post-war architectural modernism by architects Hans Scharoun and Edgar Wisniewski. It’s an architectural landmark that’s a bit under-appreciated compared to Berlin’s other, more famous and iconic structures. The library is aging — some parts not as handsomely as others — and thus undergoing some renovation, as the photos attest. The massive library is captured beautifully on film as one of the principal settings of German director Wim Wenders’ classic 1980s movie “Wings of Desire.” See film clip below.

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