Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What Is Googie?



What is "Googie?


Cars with jet-like tailfins zoomed past giant tiki gods, rockets and flying saucers on their way to Disneyland. In some ways, the Space Age, or Googie, architecture and design surrounding the park blurred the line between the Magic Kingdom and the real world.






The Space Age Inn, Satellite Shopland and the ultra-modern Bob's Big Boy restaurant were like extensions of the promise of Disney's Tomorrowland. Likewise, a giant tiki with glowing eyes standing before the Pitcairn Motel was nearly as intriguing to young visitors as the restless natives hiding in the jungles of Adventureland.






These are some of the more exotic examples of Googie, a style of architecture that thrived in the 1950s and early 1960s. It began as commercial architecture designed to make the most of strip shopping centers and other roadside locations. It fit the needs of the new California "car culture" and the dreams of the even newer space age.




Googie began in Southern California, and although it spread (in numerous forms) across the nation, its heart always remained in its birthplace. Los Angeles and Orange County, California remain some of the best places to see what remains of the style.




Googie has also been known as Populuxe, Doo-Wop, Coffee Shop Modern, Jet Age, Space Age and Chinese Modern. In some cases it has been grouped with its cousin, Tiki architecture. It is also sometimes identified as part of a larger overall movement of space-age industrial design. Googie often seems like a joint design by the Jetsons and the Flintstones.




I'm happy to have grown up and live in southern California where this started, and to be able to see so many examples of it still here today!

Source thanks to Space Age City, numerous photos shared from the internet.
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10 comments:

  1. Wow - I did not know the name of this style. Very interesting. There is a motel/hotel in The Florida Keys - around Islamorada that has this exact same style of architecture. I go down there frequently. Next time, I will take a photo and send to you - it is very cool. Now I know it is googie style.

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  2. I love this style! Fabulous architecture

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  3. I love a bit of googie, me. :D
    I did a series of posts about Googie (seems like so long ago) and in particular trying to find it outside of America.

    I did manage to find a couple of examples and my posts were even commented on by Alan Hess! (architectural author).

    http://moon-doggie.blogspot.com/2009/05/googie-in-england.html

    (you can find my other googie posts using the search function in the right side bar)

    I long to go to California for so many reasons but the Googie architecture is a big drawcard for me although I am aware there are probably not so many as the years go by.

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  4. I love Googie! I want to do my own post soon about googie architecture that I find and photograph locally. my favorite is the signs

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  5. Wow! That is very educational. Thank you.

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  6. Googie is alive and well here in southern CA moondoggie. There are still a lot more examples than you'd think. Palm Springs celebrates googie style. They have made it a point to keep much of the buildings built at that time. =)

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  7. http://eccentricroadside.blogspot.com/2010/02/googie-wonderland-palm-springs.html

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  8. Wouldn't it be great to have a Googie sign in front of every house in your neighborhood? OK, maybe not, but I want one! Love the creative styling of architecture and signage. I've been exploring some Flickr groups devoted to Googie, there are a lot of great images on there.

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  9. I wish they still made stores, motel & restaurant signs like this I LOVE it! And everything looked so futuristic. Now everything where I live pretty much is all plain and the same nothing stands out.

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  10. As you very well know I was born in the 50's or more specifically, NINETEEN HUNDRED AND FIFTY. Yeah, yeah I'm old. When Lowly Trooper Sally was very little she had a hard time pronouncing my name for some reason and for some reason started calling me Gogie. It's pronounced GO-ghee but occasionally someone says GOO-ghee (ghee, like clarified butter). I just KNEW I represented an entire architectural genre.

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