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If you’ve ever seen a 1950s sedan or a bowling alley sign from the same era, you are probably familiar with Googie style architecture. Googie architecture, often referred to as mid-century modern, started at the end of the 1940s and the beginning of the 1950s. The name is derived from a coffee shop called Googies in Los Angeles, which was designed by John Lautner and was one of the first examples of this style of architectural design.



Googie design is sleek, futuristic architecture, heavily influenced by the Space Age and the Atomic Age. While the world became obsessed with the international space race between the United States and Russia, science fiction, and car culture, design began to change to reflect that obsession. Googie design often depicts motion, upswept roofs, and a use of geometric and curvaceous shapes. One of the most famous examples of Googie design is the Seattle Space Needle. Built in 1962 for the World’s Fair, the Space Needle is a classic example of space age architecture. In fact, the design was based on architectural conceptions of a giant balloon and a flying saucer, both objects that convey both motion and futurism. Other Space Age designs used heavily in Googie architecture include boomerangs, atoms, parabolas, and other conventions that were used to characterize the country’s obsession with futuristic design and futuristic thinking. Much of the architecture and signage of Las Vegas was also inspired by Googie design and many important buildings featuring this architectural style can still be seen today.

















The Googie style fit perfectly with the Las Vegas persona. Both were about both dwarfing and amazing the viewer, and in most cases, both succeeded. The bright lights of the strip seemed other worldly so what better way to convey and further this feel than with signage and architecture resembling The Jetsons. The thick cantilevering slabs seemed to defy gravity while the larger than life aesthetic arches and angles made the viewer look on with wonder. This odd, shining oasis in the desert furthered its image with equally odd style.





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