Exaggerated Modern and Googie

circa 1940's - 1960's

Also known as coffee-shop modern, Googie originated in southern California in the late 1940s. It was designed to attract attention with its flamboyant forms. Motels, coffee shops, bowling alleys, car washes, and a variety of other building types were erected in this style. Some debate exists as to whether Googie is an appropriate name for the style. The style is also called exaggerated modern because it exaggerates the structural components of the building and was ideally suited for commercial strips. It first appeared in the late 1940s and reached its zenith in the mid-1960s. It is characterized by:

  • Exaggerated, sweeping, cantilevered and oversized roofs, and dynamic rooflines
  • Large signs (often neon)
  • Canopies soaring at raking angles
  • V-shaped columns and metal framed angular designs and curvaceous geometric shapes
  • Visual fronts and large sheet-glass windows.
  • Materials include steel, glass, plywood, glass block, plastics, and stone.