Bold structures and upswept roofs combined with glass, neon, and fluorescent lights invaded the streets of Los Angeles and neighboring cities and later expanded to Las Vegas, Seattle, Phoenix, New York, and beyond.
From the late 1940s and far into the 1960s, roadside businesses—gas stations, motels, car washers, drive-in restaurants, coffee shops—as well as entertainment venues, like bowling alleys, cinemas, auditoriums, and even churches, started evoking flying saucers, launching pads, and airstrips, while commercial signage began displaying stars, blasts, boomerangs, parabolas, comets, and other astronomical and atomic figures.
This combination of galactic shapes with neon outlines couldn't be ignored and would become a staple of the American midcentury lifestyle, not to mention an effective marketing tool to attract passing motorists. The golden arches of McDonald's, originally an architectural feature of the restaurant and later the main element of its logo, were conceived during this time.
Using various architectural, design, news, and travel sources, Living Spaces chose five iconic Googie buildings that hark back to simpler times, when outer space seemed just within reach and flickering lights on the way home compelled people to imagine the future.