Show Us Your Googies! - VSFW


After this older post received a massive amount of activity, we're "reviving" it as a bonus post today.

Googie was the futurist design movement that divided critics and swept the nation. The term Googie was coined by architect Douglas Haskell in 1952. Googies are a form of modern architecture, a subdivision of futurist architecture influenced by car culture, jets, the Space Age, and the Atomic Age.  
Googie, is sometimes known as Populuxe, and in some circles is just considered modern architecture. But it seems to me most fitting to call the style by the term used by its most famous detractor. Googie is both the future we long for and the future we never asked for.
Because of its rise in the 50's, Googie is also one of the most common forms of architecture associated with post war Classic cars and Hot Rods. To a degree, numerous automotive designs, such as the ones we've featured in the Dream Cars articles, could be considered "Automotive Googies".

The 50's and '60's were a period of time filled with futuristic vision, bountiful optimism and near limitless boundaries. And as a child in those days, you had a front row seat to the land of tomorrow. The Space Age, Atomic Age, car design, television programs, even what you saw in your classroom helped to promote these optimistic ideals. 

It wasn't long before the future was as close as the local coffee shop, supermarket and car wash. Architects began designing buildings with up-swept roof lines and large domes featuring the expansive glass panels and a mixture of design elements to represent the future had landed in your own backyard.

Perhaps no one has studied Googie and its relationship to mid-20th century futurism more closely than Alan Hess: an architect, historian and the author of Googie Redux: Ultramodern Roadside Architecture . “Googie started after WWII as a definable style. It caught on fire in the culture and lasted for a good 25 years or so,” said Hess. It is undeniably the super-aesthetic of 1950s and ’60s American retro-futurism — a time when America was flush with cash and ready to deliver the technological possibilities that had been promised during WWII."
“I really feel that Googie made the future accessible to everyone”. "Googie was an unpretentious aesthetic meant to appeal to the average, middle-class American. One of the key things about Googie architecture was that it wasn’t custom houses for wealthy people. It was for average buildings of everyday life that people of that period used and lived in. It brought that spirit of the modern age to their daily lives and in a meaningful way.”

These futuristic ideas passed from architecture and car design to cartoons like The Jetsons, places like  Disneyland’s Tomorrowland, in advertisements, in magazines and certainly in the movies as well. So this interest, this intrigue and the appeal of living in the future just went all across the culture.



Googie was about the past meeting the future. It was part of the popular culture, which reinforced a unified vision of a utopian future built on mankind's work and ingenuity. But by 1970, both architecture and culture had changed significantly. 
The interest in the future, the gee-whiz factor about plastics and nuclear power and space flight, travel to the moon; all of the things that had been new and exciting in the '50s and '60s became mundane and society, as a whole, had undergone an major transition. 


Although the Googie became associated with past ideals and a future that never happened, it is far from dead. Unfortunately the unique Space Age style that gave birth to most of these architectural icons during the 1950s and 1960s is rapidly vanishing but should be preserved.

Googie architecture, which first appeared in Orange County, CA after Disneyland opened in 1955, heralded the Space Age with its pronounced shapes, boomerang angles and bold uses of glass, steel and neon. The idea was to attract the attention of speeding motorists to places such as the Satellite Shopland and the Inn of Tomorrow in Anaheim. 

"The reason we have Googie is because in Southern California we have a car culture," said Daniel Paul. "Googie starts on the roadside. The car is its soul mate."
Mel's Diner at Universal in Orlando

Searching the web, we realized there is very little of the remaining Googie-based architecture included within a well organized and permanent site. As they are a part of automotive history, we think Garagistry would be a great place to do just that, but we'll need your help. 

Knowing we can't be everywhere, if you have a local Googie, send us a few details. Please the contact us form to keep your email address and ours safe.