Art Deco

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Architectural Style

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Art Deco is a visual design style predominantly used from 1920 to 1940. Meant to instill glamour, exuberance as well as pay homage to the advancement of technology at the time, buildings under this design were carefully constructed in geometric shapes and often were complemented with rich color and extravagant ornamentation.


Art Deco is believed to have originated in France under the guidance of 'La Societe des artistes decorateurs' or Decorative Artists Society. This society was founded just after the Universal Exposition of 1900 as a means to promote France's decorative arts to the world. [1] Art Deco was initially considered part of the Modernist movement of architecture and design. It wasn't given its official designation until 1966.

Use In Building Construction

Art Deco structures can be identified by their streamlined designs, pastel colors and extravagant decorations. Many of the most famous Art Deco structures were built during its height in the 1930's. [2] Notable examples include the Chrysler Building in New York, the Miami Beach Architectural District in Miami and the Burrard Bridge in Vancouver.

Building Materials

To accomplish their monolithic appearance, designers utilized stucco, concrete, Terracotta and smooth-faced stone. To enhance their appearance steel or aluminum were often added to the structure along with glass blocks or decorative plate glass. This was meant to create contrast between solid and void forms while still admitting daylight. These next six buildings serve as examples of Art Deco architecture. [3]

One Hanson Place New York City

One Hanson PlaceBuilt in 1927, One Hanson Place was originally a commercial building called The Williamsburg Savings Bank Tower and was designed to house the offices of the Williamsburg Savings Bank. Designed and built by the architectural firm of Halsey, McCormack and Helmer, the Williamsburg Savings Bank Tower was the tallest building in Brooklyn for over eight decades, only recently unseated with the construction of the Brooklyner in 2010. Recognized as a landmark building in Brooklyn almost from the moment it opened, the Williamsburg Savings Bank Tower was declared a landmark of New York City in 1977, and has come to be known as one of the iconic structures of the borough.

JW Marriott Essex House160 Central Park South, New York City

JW Marriott Essex House This building stands as an iconic example of Art Deco architecture with art moderne influences, along New York's skyline. Its brick facade stands out against the sky, looking south from Central Park, though the 6 story sign proclaiming Essex House may do so even more.

Greenwich Club Residences 88 Greenwich Street, New York City

Greenwich Club Residences The Greenwich Club Residences were originally constructed as an office building and therefore, it was not until recently that the building adopted its current moniker. Designed by architect Lafayette A. Goldstone, 88 Greenwich Street began construction in 1929 and was completed in 1930, adding a classic Art Deco touch to the skyline of Lower Manhattan. The building operated as an office building for several decades before being converted into a rental apartment building in 2000 by Worldwide Holdings Corporation.

Bartlett Building 215 West 7th Street, Los Angeles

Bartlett Building The Bartlett Building was constructed as an office building in 1911, housing Union Oil's headquarters and was, at the time, known by the same name. Over the ensuing years, the Bartlett Building was also known as the Security Pacific Bank Building, while it housed that company's offices. The Beaux Arts and Art Deco style building offer large, roomy lofts with industrial sized windows and ceilings. The Bartlett Building is a unique residence in the heart of the Los Angeles Jewellery District.

Lofts at Hollywood & Vine 6253 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles

Lofts at Hollywood & Vine The Lofts at Hollywood & Vine provides a live/work residence in one of the most recognizable intersections of the world that has been snapped in countless tourist photographs. This historic building was formerly the Hollywood Equitable Building, built in two phases over 1929 and 1930. It was the second high-rise office building to appear at this famous intersection and symbolized the new money being invested into Hollywood. In 2000, Tom Gilmore of Gilmore Associates purchased the building for $4 million and began a two-year restoration project with help from M2A Milofsky and Michali Architects to preserve the building's Neo-Gothic facade and Art Deco interior. Elements that were restored include the gargoyles on the facade, the original elevator lobby lanterns, a checkerboard marble floor and Art Deco ceiling panel.

Ritz-Carlton Residences 118 East Erie Street, Chicago

Ritz-Carlton Residences Built in 1927 by businessman Arthur Farwell, this 11 story building was designed by architect Philip Maher to provide a standard of Art Deco along the still in development Magnificent Mile. At the time, Art Deco was the fashionable architectural style of the day. Maher’s goal was to invoke the romanticism of 1920s Paris in the buildings that would eventually line this road. It would appear that Maher succeeded in this goal, as the Farwell building stood its ground for over 80 years, often being dwarfed by the size of the buildings being constructed around it.


  1. History of American Art Deco
  2. Art Deco: Introduction to an Art Movement
  3. History of Art Deco

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