The wacky architectural stylings of Googie can be defined by its Atomic Age-inspired geometric shapes, exaggerated rooflines and generous use of glass. Or you can just think The Jetsons meets modernist coffee shop.
In fact, the word “Googie” comes from the original 1949 John Launter designed West Hollywood coffee shop, “Googie’s.” Unfortunately, that establishment was torn down years ago.
Fear not though as there are still a handful of Googie-style buildings in town. Listed from south to north… click on addresses below for Google Map locations.
Kings Highway (701 E. Palm Canyon Drive ) – This former Denny’s restaurant, which was designed by renowned Googie architects Armet & Davis, has embraced its past and is now a modernist hipster hangout serving elevated diner fare. Part of the Ace Hotel brand.
Chez Palms Apartments (722 E. San Lorenzo Rd.) – Perhaps inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West, Googie stylings accent this 2-story apartment complex which can be found in the Tahquitz River Estates neighborhood.
Denny’s (1201 N. Palm Canyon Drive ) – The Denny’s chain of Coffee Shops expanded in the late 1950s and 60s at the height of Googie’s popularity carrying some of its architectural lines through to their 70s and 80s buildings like this one on North Palm Canyon.
Las Palmas Mini Mart (1595 N. Palm Canyon Drive ) – A sweeping roofline is one characteristic of the Googie style and this vintage liquor & grocery store has it in spades. At the corner of Vista Chino and North Palm Canyon.
Palm Springs Visitors Center (2901 N. Palm Canyon Drive ) – Designed by Albert Frey and Robson C. Chambers in the mid 1960s, this former gas station boasts a unique hyperbolic paraboloid roof, Googie awesome all the way!
In nearby Rancho Mirage, drive by the Maranz House (70551 Tamarisk Lane) by Val Powelson, circa 1960, to see another Googie styled hyperbolic paraboloid-type roof, and in Desert Hot Springs you can check out the restored Hotel Launter, by original “Googie’s” coffee shop designer John Lautner, circa 1947, which has some nice pre-Googie stylings as well (advance bookings are required).
For more on Googie Architecture, there’s a great 2012 article written by Matt Novak, over at Smithsonian.com.
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