Art Deco, 1920—1940+

Art Deco, like the Prairie Style before it, broke from revivalist tradition of the last century, but was more popular and spread nationally. It was the first architectural style in North America to have counterparts in the design of jewlery, clothing, furniture, handicrafts, vehicles and household appliances; for it was a style of applied decoration. It began with the 1925 Paris International Exposition of the Decorative Arts and Modern Industries, strove for an artistic expression of the machine age, and was a conscious rejection of historicism. It was characterized by linear, hard edges and angular, geometric compositions of high quality materials, often with an emphasis on verticals or horizontals to create a sense of streamlining.

FORM: symmetrical compositions of block masses, generally descending in size while ascending in height.

WINDOWS: generally metal, rectangular, with vertical strips deeply recessed between highly decorative panels.

TRIM: hard edged, geometric patterns in low relief around openings.

MATERIALS: ornamental inserts and appliqués, often of different materials than the building itself; metal and ceramics were common for such embellishments.