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Arts and Entertainment

Go Back To The Future With The Upcoming Googie World Expo

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How to explain our love for Googie architecture? Perhaps it reminds us of a time when we looked toward the future with a sense of wonder and optimism. That was, after all, the spirit of the design; as noted at Curbed LA, "Googie captured the post-WWII high that made people feel that the future was now and they were living in it, but it reflected a very 1950s and '60s view of what 'the future' meant." This "future," as it turned out, happened to involve "sweeping arches and hard angles, cantilevered roofs and bold colors," according to Architecture Daily.

The design has its detractors. But whether you regard it as kitschy, or defiantly unique, there's little doubt that Googie's home is in L.A. "Los Angeles gave birth to it, Los Angeles nurtured it, and it really became a symbol of the city. When you see these buildings, you're like, 'oh, that's gotta be a Los Angeles building,'" Los Angeles Magazine editor Chris Nichols told KPCC. It's no surprise, then, that the L.A. area will host a "Googie World Expo" that starts this Sunday (it's also directed by Nichols, by the way).

The two-day event kicks off in Sherman Oaks in a hall that's adjacent to Corky's Restaurant, which is, yes, housed in a Googie structure. The first day will revolve around a set of speakers that include author Alan Hess, whose Googie: Fifties Coffee Shop Architecture is practically a Bible on the topic, as well as Victor Newlove, a longtime partner at the Armet Davis Newlove architecture firm. This firm, if you don't know already, is pretty much synonymous with the term "Googie." Helmed by Louis Armet and Eldon Davis, it was responsible for over 4,000 (!) Googie restaurants in the United States. As noted by the Los Angeles Conservancy:

Their designs embraced postwar enthusiasm and created eye-catching structures to lure in the average American diner. In Los Angeles, Armet and Davis combined elements of futurism with the city’s car culture to produce eating establishments with undulating forms, dramatically angled roofs, dazzling signage, and glass expanses.

Sunday's event starts at 2 p.m., and is free to the public. Check out the expo's
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website for a schedule of events.

The second leg of the expo takes place on April 22, when there'll be a guided tour of Armet and Davis' creations in Southern California. Unfortunately, tickets for this portion is sold out, though you can get on a waitlist by sending an email to

If you want to get a sample of things to come, check out the above photos of some of L.A.'s Googie structures, as well as past posts we've written on the (revived) Penguin Coffee Shop in Santa Monica, as well as the (now defunct) Covina Bowl out in Covina.

Corky's is located at 5043 Van Nuys Blvd, Sherman Oaks, (818) 788-5110.

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