Googie Architecture

Googie Architecture:

Features of Googie include upswept roofs, curvaceous, geometric shapes, and bold use of glass, steel and neon. Googie was also characterized by Space Age designs symbolic of motion, such as boomerangs, flying saucers, atoms and parabolas, and free-form designs such as “soft” parallelograms and an artist’s palette motif. These stylistic conventions represented American society’s fascination with Space Age themes and marketing emphasis on futuristic designs.

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Dingbats of Los Angeles

An often under-appreciated LA building type is the vernacular apartment building, sometimes referred to as a “dingbat” or stucco box. Functional and basic, these small-scale apartment complexes were enhanced with the full Hollywood treatment: evocative names suggesting fantasy lands like “Shangri-La” or Polynesian paradises like “Kona Pali,” lighted starburst decorations, and on-site gardens or swimming pools. Cars were kept conveniently off-street under the elevated living areas— a vernacular interpretation of Modernist principles developed by Le Corbusier in his 1928 Villa Savoye residence in France.

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Architectural Plan Views

A floor plan is the most fundamental architectural diagram, a view from above showing the arrangement of spaces in building in the same way as a map, but showing the arrangement at a particular level of a building. Technically it is a horizontal section cut through a building (conventionally at four feet / one metre and twenty centimetres above floor level), showing walls, windows and door openings and other features at that level. The plan view includes anything that could be seen below that level: the floor, stairs (but only up to the plan level), fittings and sometimes furniture. Objects above the plan level (e.g. beams overhead) can be indicated as dotted lines.

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Main Street USA Project

The next phase in our architecture project will introduce the elevation drawing.

An elevation is a view of a building seen from one side, a flat representation of one façade. This is the most common view used to describe the external appearance of a building. Each elevation is labelled in relation to the compass direction it faces, e.g. the north elevation of a building is the side that most closely faces north. Buildings are rarely a simple rectangular shape in plan, so a typical elevation may show all the parts of the building that are seen from a particular direction. *

More below the fold:

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Los Angeles by Ian Wood

Los Angeles from Ian Wood on Vimeo:

This is the city-wide follow up to my aerial exploration of downtown Los Angeles from last year ( And much like with downtown, I continue to be awe struck by how much of this vast city I have partially or completely overlooked before undertaking this video. And like most voyages of discovery, I’ve realize there’s so much more to find.

Packing it all into one short-form video has been nigh impossible and much didn’t make it for safety, privacy or simply because I couldn’t make it 30 minutes long! Notably missing are: LAX Theme Building, both Gettys, some Lautner homes, numerous beautiful buildings, the Gabba gallery, many murals that vanished before I got to them, and much of downtown featured in last year’s video. A map of the locations is here:

This is a great piece to look at as we begin our Architecture Unit in General Art.

Artist Spotlight: Simon Gane


Simon Gane is a French comic book artist and illustrator whose work is defined by, among other things, a great understanding in depicting the world around his characters; there is an abundance of detail in his art that betrays his obvious love for architecture and the natural world. Buildings and plant life do not simply serve as backgrounds in Gane’s work.

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Main Street USA – Architecture Samples for Comics


I took the picture above in Newton, Kansas a few years back. It’s a classic example of a midwestern main street, and might be helpful for the exercises we’re starting this week. Speaking of main street, I think I’ll scrounge up a few good images from Disneyland – the small scale proportions of the Disneyland buildings on main street might work well for our cartoon architecture. I’ll also post several examples of architectural drawings by several different comics artists (I’ll just dump them in this post for now and when I get a chance I’ll add the names of the artists asap).

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