Streamline Moderne

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Streamline Moderne
SFMaritimeMuseum.jpg
NY Worlds' Fair streamlined Hudson LC-G613-T01-35339 DLC.jpg
Blytheville Greyhound Bus Station.jpg
Top: San Francisco Maritime Museum (1937) Middle: New York Central Hudson locomotive (1939): Bottom: Blytheville Greyhound Bus Station, Arkansas (1937)
Years active1930s–1940s
CountryInternational

Streamline Moderne is an international style of Art Deco architecture and design that emerged in the 1930s. It was inspired by aerodynamic design. Streamline architecture emphasized curving forms, long horizontal lines, and sometimes nautical elements. In industrial design, it was used in railroad locomotives, telephones, toasters, buses, appliances, and other devices to give the impression of sleekness and modernity. [1]

Contents

In France, it was called the Style paquebot, or "Ocean liner style", and was influenced by the design of the luxury ocean liner SS Normandie , launched in 1932.

Influences and origins

As the Great Depression of the 1930s progressed, Americans saw a new aspect of Art Deco, i.e., streamlining, a concept first conceived by industrial designers who stripped Art Deco design of its ornament in favor of the aerodynamic pure-line concept of motion and speed developed from scientific thinking. The cylindrical forms and long horizontal windowing in architecture may also have been influenced by constructivism, and by the New Objectivity artists, a movement connected to the German Werkbund. Examples of this style include the 1923 Mossehaus, the reconstruction of the corner of a Berlin office building in 1923 by Erich Mendelsohn and Richard Neutra. The Streamline Moderne was sometimes a reflection of austere economic times; sharp angles were replaced with simple, aerodynamic curves, and ornament was replaced with smooth concrete and glass.

The style was the first to incorporate electric light into architectural structure. In the first-class dining room of the SS Normandie, fitted out 1933–35, twelve tall pillars of Lalique glass, and 38 columns lit from within illuminated the room. The Strand Palace Hotel foyer (1930), preserved from demolition by the Victoria and Albert Museum during 1969, was one of the first uses of internally lit architectural glass, and coincidentally was the first Moderne interior preserved in a museum.

Architecture

Streamline Moderne appeared most often in buildings related to transportation and movement, such as bus and train stations, airport terminals, roadside cafes, and port buildings. It had characteristics common with modern architecture, including a horizontal orientation, rounded corners, the use of glass brick walls or porthole windows, flat roofs, chrome-plated hardware, and horizontal grooves or lines in the walls. They were frequently white or in subdued pastel colors.

An example of this style is the Aquatic Park Bathhouse in the Aquatic Park Historic District, in San Francisco. Built beginning in 1936 by the Works Progress Administration, it features the distinctive horizontal lines, classic rounded corners railing and windows of the style, resembling the elements of ship. The interior preserves much of the original decoration and detail, including murals by artist and color theoretician Hilaire Hiler. The architects were William Mooser Jr. and William Mooser III. It is now the administrative center of Aquatic Park Historic District.

The Normandie Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, which opened during 1942, is built in the stylized shape of the ocean liner SS Normandie, and displays the ship's original sign. The Sterling Streamliner Diners in New England were diners designed like streamlined trains.

Although Streamline Moderne houses are less common than streamline commercial buildings, residences do exist. The Lydecker House in Los Angeles, built by Howard Lydecker, is an example of Streamline Moderne design in residential architecture. In tract development, elements of the style were sometimes used as a variation in postwar row housing in San Francisco's Sunset District.

"Paquebot" style

In France, the style was called Paquebot, or ocean liner. The French version was inspired by the launch of the ocean liner Normandie in 1935, which featured an Art Deco dining room with columns of Lalique crystal. Buildings using variants of the style appeared in Belgium and in Paris, notably in a building at 3 boulevard Victor in the 15th arrondissement, by the architect Pierre Patout. He was one of the founders of the Art Deco style. He designed the entrance to the Pavilion of a Collector at the 1925 Exposition of Decorative Arts, the birthplace of the style. He was also the designer of the interiors of three ocean liners, the Ile-de-France (1926), the l'Atlantique (1930), and the Normandie (1935). [2]

Patout's building on Avenue Victor lacked the curving lines of the American version of the style, but it had a narrow "bow" at one end, where the site was narrow, long balconies like the decks of a ship, and a row of projections like smokestacks on the roof. Another 1935 Paris apartment building at 1 Avenue Paul-Daumier in the 16 arrondissement had a series of terraces modeled after the decks of an ocean liner. [3]

Automobiles

The defining event for streamline moderne design in the United States was the 1933–34 Chicago World's Fair, which introduced the style to the general public. The new automobiles adapted the smooth lines of ocean liners and airships, giving the impression of efficiency, dynamism, and speed. The grills and windshields tilted backwards, cars sat lower and wider, and they featured smooth curves and horizontal speed lines. Examples include the 1934 Chrysler Airflow and the 1934 Studebaker Land Cruiser. The cars also featured new materials, including bakelite plastic, formica, Vitrolight opaque glass, stainless steel, and enamel, which gave the appearance of newness and sleekness. [4]

In 1939 and 1941 respectively, both Chrysler and GM came out with pick-up and truck lines, that had both distinct and similar looking designs that submitted to the Art Deco and streamline styling en vogue in the day, under various brand names.

Other later examples include the 1950 Nash Ambassador "Airflyte" sedan with its distinctive low fender lines, as well as Hudson's postwar cars, such as the Commodore, [5] that "were distinctive streamliners—ponderous, massive automobiles with a style all their own". [6]

Planes, boats and trains

Streamlining became a widespread design practice for aircraft, railroad locomotives, and ships.

Industrial design

Streamline style can be contrasted with functionalism, which was a leading design style in Europe at the same time. One reason for the simple designs in functionalism was to lower the production costs of the items, making them affordable to the large European working class. [7] Streamlining and functionalism represent two different schools in modernistic industrial design.

Other notable examples

Doctor's Building, Kiev, Ukraine, 1928 1-i zhiloi dom vracha 1.jpg
Doctor's Building, Kiev, Ukraine, 1928
Daily Express Building, Manchester, UK, 1939 Express Building Manchester.jpg
Daily Express Building, Manchester, UK, 1939
Gdynia Maritime University, Poland, 1937 Gdynia- Dom Zeglarza Polskiego (4).JPG
Gdynia Maritime University, Poland, 1937
Club Moderne, Anaconda, Montana Club Moderne, Anaconda, Montana.jpg
Club Moderne, Anaconda, Montana
Star Ferry Pier in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry Pier.jpg
Star Ferry Pier in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Former Star Ferry Pier in Central, Hong Kong, now demolished Clock Tower, Star Ferry Pier in Central.jpg
Former Star Ferry Pier in Central, Hong Kong, now demolished
Howard Crane's Earls Court Exhibition Centre (1937), London, West Brompton approach, now demolished Earls Court One - geograph.org.uk - 164611.jpg
Howard Crane's Earls Court Exhibition Centre (1937), London, West Brompton approach, now demolished
J. W. Knapp Company Building (1937), Lansing, Michigan Knapps Building.jpg
J. W. Knapp Company Building (1937), Lansing, Michigan
Hamilton Hydro-Electric System Building (1935), Hamilton, Ontario HamiltonHydroElectric.JPG
Hamilton Hydro-Electric System Building (1935), Hamilton, Ontario

In motion pictures

See also

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The Art Deco style, which originated in France just before World War I, had an important impact on architecture and design in the United States in the 1920s and 1930s. The most famous examples were the skyscrapers of New York, including the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, and Rockefeller Center in New York City. It combined modern aesthetics, fine craftsmanship and expensive materials, and became the symbol of luxury and modernity. While rarely used in residences, it was frequently used for office buildings, government buildings, train stations, movie theaters, diners and department stores. It also was frequently used in furniture, and in the design of automobiles, ocean liners, and everyday objects such as toasters and radio sets. In the late 1930s, during the Great Depression, it featured prominently in the architecture of the immense public works projects sponsored by the Works Progress Administration and the Public Works Administration, such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Hoover Dam. The style competed throughout the period with the modernist architecture, and came to an abrupt end in 1939 with the beginning of World War II. The style was rediscovered in the 1960s, and many of the original buildings have been restored and are now historical landmarks.

Streamlined Ocean Liner

The Streamlined Ocean Liner was a design by Norman Bel Geddes for a streamlined steam-powered ocean liner. The shape was compared by Pathé to that of a porpoise, blunt at the front and tapered at the rear. It first appeared in Geddes' 1932 book Horizons and an outline patent was filed in 1933 with a detailed patent following in 1934. An offer was made for the rights to the design in the late 1930s, which Geddes refused, as he still hoped to sell it to an American shipbuilder, but the ship was never built.

Pierre Patout (1879-1965) was a French architect and interior designer, who was one of the major figures of the Art Deco movement, as well as a pioneer of Streamline Moderne design. His works included the design of the main entrance and the Pavillion d'un Collecteur at the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts in Paris in 1925, and the interiors of the ocean liner Normandie and other French transatlantic liners in the 1930s.

Art Deco in Paris

The Art Deco movement of architecture and design appeared in Paris in about 1910–12, and continued until the beginning of World War II in 1939. It took its name from the International Exposition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts held in Paris in 1925. It was characterized by bold geometric forms, bright colors, and highly stylized decoration, and symbolized modernity and luxury. Art Deco architecture, sculpture, and decoration reached its peak at 1939 Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne, and in movie theaters, department stores, other public buildings. It also featured in the work of Paris jewelers, graphic artists, furniture craftsmen, and jewelers, and glass and metal design. Many Art Deco landmarks, including the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and the Palais de Chaillot, can be seen today in Paris.

References

  1. "A true example of Streamline Moderne". Times of Malta. 6 September 2012. Archived from the original on 1 April 2016.
  2. Oudin, Dictionnaire des Architectes, Sechiers, Paris, (1994), (in French), page 372.
  3. Texier, Paris Panorama of Archicture, Parigramme, (2012). pg. 142.
  4. McCourt, Mark, "When Art Deco is Really Streamline Moderne", Hemmings Daily, 29 May 2014
  5. "1948 Hudson Models – Tech Pages Article". Auto History Preservation Society. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
  6. Reed, Robert C. (1975). The Streamline Era. San Marino, California: Golden West Books. ISBN   0-87095-053-3.
  7. Nickelsen, Trine (15 June 2010). "Aluminium – en kulturhistorie" (in Norwegian). Apollon. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  8. 1 2 Bettsky, Aaron (15 July 1993). "A Hollywood Ending for Those Who Take This Elevator to the Top". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  9. Bos, Sascha (16 July 2014). "Historic 1938 Building Could Complicate Massive WeHo Development". LA Weekly. Retrieved 17 February 2015.

Bibliography