Streamline Moderne, sometimes referred to by either name alone or as Art Moderne, was a late type of the Art Deco design style which emerged during the 1930s. Its architectural style emphasized curving forms, long horizontal lines, and sometimes nautical elements.
Common characteristics of Streamline Moderne and Art Moderne
- Horizontal orientation
- Rounded edges, corner windows
- Glass brick walls
- Porthole windows
- Chrome hardware
- Smooth exterior wall surfaces, usually stucco (smooth plaster finish)
- Flat roof with coping
- Horizontal grooves or lines in walls
- Subdued colors: base colors were typically light earth tones, off-whites, or beiges; and trim colors were typically dark colors (or bright metals) to contrast from the light base.
The Normandie Hotel, which opened during 1942, is built in the stylized shape of the ocean liner SS Normandie, and it includes the ship’s original sign. The Sterling Streamliner Diners 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 frequently used as a variation in postwar row housing in San Francisco’s Sunset District.