As freeway construction swelled in the 1940s, so too did Angelenos' love of their cars. Driving all over town—as opposed to walking or taking the street car—marked a fundamental shift in how we saw the LA streetscape. In order to catch motorists' attention, gas stations and coffee shops turned to eye-catching shapes and neon signs—an aesthetic we now know as Googie.
Though your keyboard will insist you're misspelling a popular search engine, Googie is a movement in Los Angeles architecture that arose in the post-war era. The style owes its name to Googies, a former West Hollywood coffee shop designed by local architect John Lautner. The midcentury movement was heavily influenced by the nation's Space Age infatuation with industrial progress, and so sweeping rooflines and hard, geometric shapes worked their way into buildings alongside neon signs with playful starbursts.
Though the flashy style had fallen out of favor by the '70s, Googie still survives in many of LA's retro diners as well as these glorious Googie buildings.