Last edited 25 Jan 2021

Art Moderne

Normandie hotel.jpg

Art Moderne, also known as ‘Streamline Moderne’, is an architectural style that developed out of 1930s Art Deco. It was seen as a response to the Great Depression, designing buildings to be more streamlined and austere as opposed to the ambitious, opulent forms of Art Deco.

Newsletter sign up CTA.png

Buildings of the Art Moderne style were designed to emphasise simple geometry, incorporating curving forms, long horizontal lines and occasionally nautical elements.

The European Bauhaus movement was influential on American designers who adopted the principle of taking classical architecture in its simplest form, stripped of ornamentation or ‘excess’, unlike the chevrons, zigzags and decoration of Art Deco.

Art Moderne buildings were typically designed in low, horizontal shapes as opposed to Art Deco’s tendency towards tall and vertical buildings. They were also usually white, whereas Art Deco buildings embraced colour. The sharp angles of Art Deco were replaced with simple, aerodynamic curves. Exotic timbers and stone were replaced with stucco, cement and glass.

Some of the most common characteristics of the Art Moderne style include:


Some of the well-known built examples include:

  • The Normandie Hotel, San Juan (see top image).
  • Daily Express Building, Manchester.
  • Midland Hotel, Morecambe.
  • Ford Building, San Diego.
  • De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea.
  • Coca-Cola Building, Los Angeles (see above).

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki

Designing Buildings Anywhere

Get the Firefox add-on to access 20,000 definitions direct from any website

Find out more Accept cookies and
don't show me this again