Out of Art Deco, enthusiastically adopted in the US, grew a style unique to the United States – Streamline Moderne. It evolved in the ’30s and was both a modern continuation and a reaction to Art Deco, which surprisingly enough is not a contradiction, although at first it seems to be one.
Streamline Moderne reflected the more austere economic times of the ’30s. Some Art Deco elements were kept, but generally sharp angles and lines became more aerodynamically rounded, excessive ornaments gave way to clean surfaces and – very important – modern materials like cement and glass were used to replace exotic woods and stone.
In Los Angeles the Lydecker House is usually quoted as a prime example of a residential building in the Streamline Moderne style. But there are many, many private houses around showing the rounded lines, the curved windows, the portholes so typical of that style.
Even more houses show only some of the elements – just some curved lines, one or two porthole windows; that was enough at that time to deem the house “modern” and satisfy the buyer that he or she was totally “with it.”
And then one can find something like this:
Here the theme of the rounded lines and the portholes has been taken to a certain extreme, in keeping with the name “The Good Ship Grace.” This building was originally a radio station for Christian broadcasting. Then the radio station moved out to Riverside and the structure just sits there – empty and as an example of a very unique American style.