Rather than being based on the revival of previous architectural styles, this style was a response to a new era. Founded on smooth, clean and simple lines it paid tribute to the machine age.Although closely related to Art Deco, it was a deliberate move away from heavy ornamentation and vertical massing. Based on simple geometric forms, the Moderne was not heavily decorated, and provided for a more simple and economical architecture than that of Art Deco.

The Moderne style, sometimes referred to as ‘Streamline’ because of its smooth linear features, was widely applied to residences, theatres and industrial plants during the 1930s and 40s.

What to Look For…

  • first major style to break from traditional building forms
  • the streamline effect is closely associated with speed and technological advances of the time, such as ocean liners, aircraft, automobiles, etc
  • box-like form sometimes relieved by rounded corners
  • asymmetrical facades and plan
  • horizontal, rather than vertical, emphasis
  • flat roof with an interior gutter system
  • horizontal grooves in wall surfaces to create decorative ‘streamline’ banding
  • horizontally proportioned wide windows
  • pipe railings and other nautical motifs