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The Architecture of Buena Vista

 
 
 
 

Telling Stories Through Architecture

Unique among creative and artistic professions, architecture must always reflect the age and cultural context that produced it. When you learn about ancient cultures, the first thing people point to is their architecture, because it’s so expressive of who they were.

 

The architecture of San Jose tells many stories of the cities past and reflects almost every style of housing that was popular from the 1800's onward and individual building feature have become important to the character of the City.  The mass and scale, form, materials and architectural details of the buildings are the elements that distinguish one architectural style from another, or even older neighborhoods from newer developments. The Buena Vista Neighborhood evolved with the City and the styles of the times and the houses that make up the neighborhood reflect the many different architectural styles.

Buena Vista Area Historic Home and Garden Tour

Architectural Styles of San Jose

What is a bungalow?

Arts & Crafts Bungalows

 

Buena Vista Historic Home & Garden Tour

In the 1990's through 2008, the Buena Vista Neighborhood Association held an annual Historic Home and Garden Tour which celebrate not just the history of San Jose, but the history of the architecture in and around the Buena Vista Neighborhood, telling the stories of many of the homes.  Driving down the street in Buena Vista, or other historic neighborhood teaches you about the past, the people who were here before us and we will tell our story to the future generations about who we are.

While the Historic Home and Garden Tour no longer takes place, most of the homes still remain.

Architectural Styles of San Jose

Single-family homes built prior to the turn-of-the-century from the vernacular cottages to suburban homes of city businessmen were derived from popular Victorian era styles. They were wood frame structures, vertical in massing and typically had steep gable roofs, dormers and wide ornamented porches. Turrets, balconies and complex roof systems were present in the homes of the wealthy, while the decoration of one- story structures occupied by families of more modest means were less detailed.

 

The majority of the buildings after the turn-of-the-century represent the Arts and Crafts period or the many Period Revival styles. Craftsman style houses began to appear in San Jose after the turn-of-the century. Derived from the Arts and Crafts movement in California, architects and contractor-builders during the era before World War I produced bungalows and mid-size homes. Typically wood frame and sheathed in clapboard or shingles, these homes made extensive use of local stone for garden walls, foundations, chimneys and porch supports.

The third decade of the twentieth century saw the proliferation of single-family residential subdivisions designed in a variety of Period Revival styles. Most prominent were the Tudor Revival, Spanish Colonial Revival, and Colonial Revival styles.

While these styles are prevalent throughout greater San Jose, many but not all of them are represented in the houses in the Buena Vista Neighborhood. 

Folk Houses
circa 1860-1900

Vernacular or National
Sometimes referred to as “other,” “no style” or “folk houses,” the vernacular residential style focuses on being functional. The houses are constructed of simple designs, some of which remained common for decades. Many of these designs were indeed based on popular styles of the time, but the vernacular structures were much simpler in form, detail and function. Elements from other styles found in the neighborhoods will appear on the vernacular but in simple arrangements.

 

While the neighborhoods include “folk houses” of several types, the most prevalent is the Gable Front. The Gable Front Vernacular, usually one-story, has a front-facing gable roof with a full-width front porch.

Characteristics

  • Gabled or hipped roof over the main block

  • Porch, with steps

  • Usually round columns

  • Raised first floor

  • Eaves encased and trimmed with moldings

  • Small dormers

Romantic Era
circa 1860-1880

Nationally, the picturesque styles from the Romantic era—especially the Gothic Revival and the Italianate— began during the 1830s and moved westward with expanding settlement. Architectural styles in San Jose that represent the Romantic era include the Italianate, Gothic Revival (or Folk Victorian) and Greek Revival.

Italianate and Italianate Cottage
The Italianate style, along with other styles of the Picturesque Movement such as Gothic Revival and the Victorian era, were a reaction to the formal classicism of the Greek Revival. The Italianate style was introduced by Andrew Jackson Downing in his 1850 publication, The Architecture of Country Houses.

Characteristics

  • Low pitch hipped roof

  • Double-hung, narrow windows, often with round arch heads

  • Window panes are either one-over-one or two-over-two

  • Protruding sills

  • Wide, overhanging eaves

  • Ornate treatment of the eaves, including the use of paired brackets, modillions and dentil courses

  • Blocked, cube shape, with a side-passage plan, or cross-gable

  • Bay windows, often rectangular shape

  • Rusticated quoins at building corners

  • Cresting on roofs

  • Transom, often curved, above the front door

  • Ornate porch treatment, with round columns or square posts, and bargeboard ornament

Greek Revival

The end of the 18th century brought about great interest in classical building styles throughout the United States and Europe. The Greek Revival style became quite popular during the middle of the nineteenth century. Most domestic examples date from 1830 to 1860, and were spread through carpenter’s guides and pattern books of the time.

 

Characteristics

  • Gabled or hipped roof with a low pitch

  • Cornice line of main roof and porch roofs emphasized with wide band of trim (representing the classical entablature)

  • Entry porch or full-width porch supported by prominent square or rounded columns

  • Examples without porches sometimes have pilasters at building corners and at an entry pediment

  • Narrow line of transom and side lights around front door, usually incorporated into an elaborate door surround

  • Windows typically six-over-six

Carpenter Gothic or Folk Victorian
The Carpenter Gothic style was part of the Romantic movement that valued emotion over rational thought. As a rejection of classicism the most vocal proponent of this style, Andrew Jackson Downing, emphasized vertical lines, deep colors and applied ornament.

Characteristics

  • Often used “classic cottage” building form, with steeply pitched gables and dormers

  • Cross gable roof plan or side gable roof plan with central cross gable over the door

  • Clapboard or plaster siding

  • Highly emphasized decorative ornament

  • Dormers and eave lines ornamented with decorative wooden bargeboards

  • Pediments over windows

  • Full-length windows and bay windows

  • Lancet windows

  • Elaborate turned posts, cut-out boards

Home Kits

While many people know that Sears sold homes via the Sears catalog, most people don't realize that in addition to Sears, there were five national companies selling kit homes through mail order.  Kit homes were sold via mail order catalogs and shipped to the wanna-be homeowner in about 10,000 pieces. These complex do-it-yourself kits came with a 75-page instruction book that told you how all those pieces went together. Kit home companies promised that a man "of average abilities" could build his own kit home in about 30-90 days.  The home-kit was so commonplace it was the comedically tragic subject of Buster Keatons "One Week", in which he tried to assemble a home kit with dubious results.

These bungalow “kits,” packaged, sent to the home site, and assembled by local craftsmen, allowed for some customization but overall many shared the same floorpan which is why many homes look so similar especially inside.  They were modest in size, typically 5 to 8 rooms, with 2 to 4 bedrooms, and one to two bathrooms

Aladdin Homes (Bay City, Michigan) was one of the largest and Gordon Van Tine (based in Davenport, Iowa) was another large company. (Gordon Van Tine supplied kit homes for Montgomery Wards, too.) There were also Lewis Manufacturing, Harris Brothers and Sterling Homes. Pacific Homes (also known as Pacific Homes Systems) only sold regionally.

Pacific Homes out of Portland Oregon was probably one of the larger regional companies, selling about 40,000 kit homes during their 32 years in business.  

A century ago, the typical American's salary was $687 per year. That might not sound like much—after factoring in inflation, it's about $16,500 in today's dollars—but it was more than enough to buy a house.  The starting price of a house from Sears, Roebuck & Company, which shipped home components in parts that would have to be assembled by buyers, was only $659, roughly the equivalent of $16,164.74 today.  According to the century-old Sears ad, the $659 price covered all the lumber, lath, flooring, roof, pipes, cedar shingles, paint, and other materials needed to build a five-room bungalow, featuring two bedrooms, a kitchen, and a front porch.

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Victorian Era
circa 1860-1900

Technically the word “Victorian” refers to the long reign of Queen Victoria, which lasted from 1833 to 1901, and encompassed the rich variety of architectural styles that were popular during the nineteenth century. Architecturally the word “Victorian” evokes the complexity and irregularity seen in the massing and materials of modest homes to large mansions.

Architectural styles in San Jose that represent the Victorian era include the Queen Anne, Stick, and Shingle.

Queen Anne

Proponents of the Queen Anne style found their inspiration from the medieval art and architecture of its namesake’s reign (1702-1714), growing out of recognition of vernacular, modest, pre-industrial structures and a desire to bring about a close relationship of architecture to ornamentation. In the United States, it developed from a desire to identify a national style. Both the Centennial Exposition, held in Philadelphia in 1876, and the popularity of New England coastal towns exposed Americans to their colonial, vernacular architectural past. The style introduced a new kind of open planning and a new way of massing volumes of space; it was inherently eclectic and became available to homeowners of all income levels.

Characteristics

  • Irregular, asymmetrical massing

  • One to two stories

  • Bay windows, towers, turrets, oriels, dormers, gables—anything that protrudes from the wall and the roof

  • Windows with leaded or stained glass (usually at staircase)

  • Tall brick chimneys (usually ornate)

  • Multi-gable roof with predominate front gable

  • Shingles used as embellishment, especially in gable ends and dormer walls.

  • Ornamental woodwork, especially on gables and porches.

  • Combinations of siding materials, e.g., horizontal siding on the first story and shingles on the second.

  • Double-hung wood sash windows in tall narrow openings.

Stick

The Stick style is generally considered a transitional design between the Gothic Revival and the Queen Anne periods. Where early Gothic Revival homes had highly ornate detailing applied to the doors, windows and cornices, the Stick style stressed the wall surface itself as the decorative element. This style is purely defined by its decorative detailing--the characteristic multi- textured wall surfaces and roof trusses whose “stickwork” somewhat mimics the exposed structural members of Medieval half-timbered houses. Varied patterns of wood siding and shingles are typically applied in the square and triangular spaces created by this “stickwork.”

Characteristics

  • Combinations of materials: For example, horizontal siding can be seen on the first story and shingles are used on the second

  • Shingles are the most commonly used embellishment on gable ends and dormer walls

  • Horizontal wood siding has a crispness that gives the building a repetition of light and shadow that is texturally rich

  • Fancy scroll cut wood work, especially around gables and porches

  • Cornerboard and bargeboard trim

  • Squared bay windows

Shingle

With its lack of decorative detailing, the Shingle style house was a stark contrast to the Queen Anne houses that were most popular in the years preceding 1890. Architects and designers of the style used the complex forms of Queen Anne design, but were also influenced by Richardsonian Romanesque and American Colonial architecture. Shingle houses are typically “high fashion,” as exhibited in existing dwellings that are large and varied in design. Unlike Queen Anne, which was adapted to the small, vernacular cottage, Shingle influences rarely appear on small-scale dwellings and never became a style that was mass-produced.

Characteristics

  • Almost entirely clad with shingles

  • Secondary materials include sandstone foundations and wood for windows and trim

  • Complex roof with multiple gables, combination hip/gable, dormers, eyebrow dormers, conical tower roof; also gambrel roof

  • Curved surfaces and shapes (curved bays, arched porch openings, Palladian windows)

  • Large, dominant front gable

  • Asymmetrical massing, including the use of towers, dormers and eyebrow windows

  • Prominent front porch, typically with the front elevation dominated by a curved bay

  • Use of classical features, such as round columns on porches, one-over-one double-hung sash windows and Palladian windows

What is a Bungalow?

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Most of the historic homes built in the Buena Vista Neighborhood are bungalows, which begs the question; what is a bungalow?


Deciphering what Bungalow means can be very confusing. That’s because the term Bungalow doesn’t relate to any specific architectural style – bungalows were designed in all kinds of different architectural styles-basically whatever sold well and was popular during the early 20th Century (1910’s to 1930’s).  Bungalows were the first mass produced housing and came in pre-cut kits that were easy to assemble and could be purchased from mail order catalogs. 

 
 
 
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Colonial Revival Period
circa 1890-1930

The popularity of classical influences persisted in San Jose, as elsewhere in the nation, from the 1890s through the 1920s. Two distinct phases are represented, however, in the forty-year time frame. Architecture from the earlier phase tended to use classical elements in a strict sense; whereas, the later phase interpreted them in a more modern, scaled-down vernacular form.

The Colonial Revival period tends to be a more symmetrical and formal style than others discussed in this chapter. It incorporates less applied decorative detailing than the Victorian era and displays traditional features that are restrained and classically inspired like fluted columns and pediments.

Architectural styles in San Jose that represent the Colonial Revival Period include the Neoclassical cottage, Colonial Revival and Dutch Colonial Revival.

Neoclassical

Inspired by some of the smaller pavilions at the Columbian Exposition in 1893, the Neoclassical style was for those who did not appreciate the excessive monumentalism of the Beaux-Arts movement. Incorporating less decorative details, smooth, plain walls and simple moldings, this style was still grandly assertive.

Characteristics

  • Classical columns and pediment over the entrance

  • Low porch rails with turned balusters

  • Hipped or gabled roofs

  • Eaves with simple dentils, modillions, frieze

  • Panelled doors surrounded by side lights, pilasters and a pediment

  • Palladian window (usually on front elevation).

  • Narrow, clapboard or stucco siding

  • Double-hung windows, 1/1, multi-pane/1, multi-

    pane/multi-pane, leaded glass in upper sash or transom.

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Colonial Revival

The Colonial Revival style encompasses many variants of residential architecture used from about the turn- of-the century through the 1930s, and was especially popular during the teens. It can apply to a bungalow or post-war cottage in which elements of several of these styles were used. Massing forms vary but they often have classical details, such as dentil moldings, pediments over the doorways, round columns and lunette windows.

Characteristics

  • Rectangular plan, often with “L” wing

  • One or two stories

  • Symmetrical, three bay facades, usually with a central, front gabled, portico-like entry and tripartite window openings in the side bays

  • Gable or cross-gable roof

  • Front porch, sometimes wrapped around corner, with wood post supports and classical detailing

  • Horizontal wood siding, often painted white

  • Paneled door with decorative glass light and overhead transom and/or sidelights

  • Windows are double-hung, (usually 1/1)

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Dutch Colonial Revival

The Dutch Colonial Revival style is named so because of the use of a gambrel roof. This style is closely allied with the Shingle and the Queen Anne styles. The details, such as the window pattern, porches and materials are very similar.

Characteristics

  • Gambrel roof, both side- and front-facing variations can be found

  • Shingled gable end

  • Two story, with the second floor in the roof form

  • Prominent front porch, with classically-detailed porch supports and plain balustrades

  • Double-hung sash windows, with either single panes or multiple panes in the upper light

  • Lunette windows in the upper gable

  • Large, single pane windows with a fixed transom on the first story

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483 S Buena Vista Ave

Built in 1901, the gambrel roof is the most noticeable hallmark of this two-story Dutch Colonial Revival house at 483 S Buena Vista Ave.  You can also see the prominent front porch with the plain balustrades.

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Arts and Crafts Period
circa 1900-1925

In contrast to the vertical orientation and outspoken decoration characteristic of Victorian era homes, the many configurations of houses during the Arts and Crafts period had in common a new horizontality emphasized by broad gables, overhanging eaves and an informal plan which spreads out to hug the landscape. The use of brick and stone for foundations, porch walls, chimneys, retaining walls and horizontal siding or shingles stained dark brown or green tended to make the homes merge with the landscape.

The Arts and Crafts period dwelling is represented in three distinct forms: the Bungalow, the Craftsman and the flat-roof Prairie house. During the Arts and Crafts period, other influences in residential designs were introduced in San Jose neighborhoods. Architects and designers created moderate and large size homes that were inspired by the English Arts and Crafts movement and philosophical idealism of American Colonial life.

Craftsman

Craftsman homes were originally inspired by two California brothers—Charles Sumner Green and Henry Mather Green—who practiced in Pasadena from 1893 to 1914. Beginning as simple bungalows, the Craftsman style was known as the “ultimate bungalow.” Influenced by the English Arts and Crafts movement and oriental wooden architecture, elements such as low-pitched, gabled roofs, wide eaves, exposed roof rafters and porches with tapered columns were common.

Characteristics

  • Low-pitched gabled roof

  • Decorative beams or braces under gables

  • One-over-one, double-hung windows, or

  • One-light, fixed window; with fixed transom

  • Prominent lintels and sills

  • Full or partial, open porch with square posts and tapered arched openings

  • Gabled dormers

  • Exposed rafters

  • Wide eaves

  • Outside siding: wood clapboard, stucco

  • Concrete or brick foundation

500 Page St

  • Low-pitched gabled roof

  • Decorative beams or braces under gables

  • One-over-one, double-hung windows, or

  • One-light, fixed window; with fixed transom

  • Prominent lintels and sills

  • Full or partial, open porch with square posts and tapered arched openings

  • Gabled dormers

  • Exposed rafters

  • Wide eaves

  • Outside siding: wood clapboard, stucco

  • Concrete or brick foundation

Bungalow

The word “bungalow” denotes a type of building rather than a style of architecture. It is believed that the word comes from a type of East Indian dwelling with broad verandas. Its immense popularity in the United States springs from a rejection of the constraints of the Victorian era and from the fact that it lent itself well to both modest and impressive house designs.

Although bungalows display a variety of materials and details, they are easily recognized by their wide, low- pitched roofs and broad front porches that create a deep, recessed space. Many bungalows fall readily into the Arts and Crafts categories, with exposed brackets and rafters, the use of “art” glass in windows and the combination of different textures, such as cobblestone and shingles. Others represent scaled-down Prairie style versions, with low-pitched roofs, broad eaves and simple geometric shapes that provide an overall horizontal appearance.

Characteristics

  • Rectangular plan with one or two stories

  • Different roof types: a steeply pitched roof with the ridge line parallel to the street that covers a porch extending the full width of the house and hip-roofs with a shallow pitch

  • Exposed rafters, brackets—anything to evoke the structural composition of the building

  • Brick, wood shingle or clapboard siding

  • Broad eaves

  • Thick, tapered porch posts

  • Full-width front porch

  • Tripartite (divided into thirds) windows

  • Rectangular bay windows

  • Casement windows

  • Large, plate glass windows

  • Doors are wooden with panels and windows in the upper third

  • Wing walls from the porch

  • Dormers that follow the line of the roof

  • Use of cobblestone

  • Concrete cap around porch wall

  • Both sandstone and concrete foundations were historically used

  • Concrete foundations generally extend one to two inches beyond the wall

  • Arts and Crafts bungalows often had wooden shingles or shakes, cobblestone and brick

  • Prairie-style bungalows are usually brick, and sometimes have a brick wainscoting with stucco

 

20th Century Revival Period
circa 1920-1940

After World War I, revival styles for houses grew in popularity. Changes in building technology, such as inexpensive methods to apply brick, stone veneer or stucco to the exterior of the traditional wood-framed house facilitated the popularity of Twentieth Century Revival styles. The period encompass the reworked versions of the Spanish Colonial, Tudor, French Norman and classically-inspired architecture along with many other variants used throughout the country’s colonial history. With the exception of the Neoclassical, which was generally reserved for mansions, period revival styles lent themselves well to designs for modest homes and offered an alternative to the bungalow.

Developers and builders found that evoking a cozy image of the past sold well, and that revival styles satisfied the need of home buyers to conform to tradition while making use of contemporary convenience and floor plans, such as the “L-shaped” living room.

Architectural styles in San Jose that represent the Twentieth Century Revival Period include the Tudor Revival, Mission Revival, Spanish Colonial Revival or Spanish Eclectic, Pueblo Revival, Mediterranean Revival and Italian Renaissance Revival.

Tudor Revival

As with many styles, the Tudor Revival does not adhere to the source of its inspiration—sixteenth-century English architecture—but instead is a mixture of elements from an American image of medieval forms that resulted in something “quaint.” The development of the Tudor Revival style was associated with the Arts and Crafts movement, in which medieval architecture and crafts were valued as a rejection of the industrialized age. Ironically, the popularity of the style was in large part owing to its exposure through mail- order catalogues such as Sears Roebuck, in which all of the parts of the house were pre-assembled and shipped by rail anywhere in the United States.

Characteristics

  • Asymmetrical with irregular plan and massing

  • Steeply pitched roof

  • Gable or Cross-gabled roof

  • Decorative half-timbering

  • Decorative masonry on exterior walls or gables

  • Recessed entry, usually under a front-facing gable or small gable-roof portico

  • Groupings of tall, narrow casement windows, often with leaded, diamond panes

  • Rolled edges on roofing to imitate thatch

  • Combined use of stucco and brick

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Mission Revival

Rather than copy the Eastern state’s revival architecture of its own colonial past, California turned to its Hispanic heritage for inspiration. Several Californian architects began to advocate the style in the 1880s and early 1890s. It was further popularized when railroad companies and hotels adopted the style for their centerpiece buildings. Most commonly, typical Hispanic design elements were adapted to the style (such as shaped parapets, arches and quatrefoil windows). The style, however, quickly faded from popular culture after World War I. Architects abandoned the free, simplified interpretations seen in the Mission style for more precise copies (as seen in the Spanish Eclectic style).

Characteristics

  • Traditionally shaped mission dormer or roof parapet

  • Red tile roof covering

  • Widely overhanging eaves

  • Porches supported by large, square piers

  • Smooth stucco finish

  • Quatrefoil windows

  • Little decorative detailing

Spanish Eclectic or Spanish Colonial Revival or Mediterranean Revival
The most influential of the revival styles in California during the 1920s and 1930s were those derived from the climatically similar Mediterranean. This style was popularized by the Panama-California Exposition, held in San Diego in 1915. The exposition was widely publicized, and the use of architectural examples from the Spanish Colonies encouraged Americans to realize that their country had a rich Spanish heritage, as well as an Anglo-Saxon past. Architects were also influenced by the baroque architecture of Mexico and Spain.

Characteristics

  • One or two story with rectangular, “U” or irregular plan and symmetrical or asymmetrical massing

  • Low-pitched gable or cross-gable roof with Spanish tile (little or no eave extension) or flat roof with parapet (some with tile coping)

  • Flat stucco walls with smooth or textured finish

  • Decorative wall surfaces, using tile or low-relief terra-cotta sculpture

  • Round-arched openings

  • Porches supported by large, square piers or simple tile roof hood over door

  • Recessed windows and doors

  • Wood casement windows often in groups, especially on the front elevation (prominent window(s) on front may have wood or wrought iron grill or classical ornamentation)

  • Front and/or interior patios, often surrounded by stucco wall

  • Decorative details that might include wrought- iron for balcony and porch railings, quatrefoil window, buttressed corners

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One of the most notable Spanish Colonial Revival buildings in the area is Binder and Curtis’s Civic Auditorium (1934-1936) at 145 West San Carlos St. called the "New Castle in Spain" by the San Jose News in April of 1963.  The buildings flat stucco exterior, round-arched openings, groups of wood encased recessed windows and doors, wrought iron ornamentation, and Spanish tile roof with no eave extension all speak to the Spanish Colonial Revival architecture style.

540 Page St

 

Italian Renaissance

The Italian Renaissance style is commonly found throughout California but is considerably less common than the Craftsman, Bungalow, Tudor Revival or Colonial Revival. The style more closely resembles classic Italian design than the earlier Italianate style because a great many of the practicing architects of the time had visited Italy and possessed a working knowledge of the architecture. Details on the Italian Renaissance were therefore borrowed directly from Italian originals. Some of the most character-defining features include the recessed entryways, full-length arched first floor windows and widely overhanging eaves supported by decorative brackets. These features are helpful in distinguishing this style from the Spanish Eclectic or Mediterranean Revival styles which are very similar otherwise.

Characteristics

  • Low-pitched hipped roof

  • Roof typically covered with ceramic tiles

  • Full-length, arched first floor openings

  • Upper-story windows are smaller and less elaborate than first floor counterparts

  • Facade is mostly symmetrical

  • Widely overhanging eaves supported by decorative brackets

  • Recessed entryway usually accented by small classical columns or pilasters

  • High-style examples are three to four stories in height and include a rusticated first floor, quoins, bracketed windows and different window treatments in each story

 

Modern Styles
circa 1930-1950

The modern styles derive their origin from a variety of sources, but overall the impetus to the “modern” styles was generated by a rejection of all historical references. Proponents of modernity did not differ from reformers of other eras in their desire to use design to address social issues, but they distinguished themselves by shunning the past as well as cultural or national contexts. Additionally, modern architects stressed the emphasis on volume and the inherent value and elegance of materials. Architects had new structural options, primarily the steel frame and reinforced concrete, so that flat roofs, greater window space and cantilevered elements could be used. They embraced new technology and “the machine age,” and their imprint has had a profound effect on American architecture and urbanism.

Art Deco

The Art Deco style is characterized by a sculptural use of abstract ornamentation and geometric forms. It was a break from traditional and classical styles and ornamentation. Vertical elements soaring to the full height of a facade often formed dynamic silhouettes.

Characteristics

  • Smooth wall surface (usually stucco)

  • Zigzags, chevrons and other stylized and geometric wall ornamentation

  • Towers, piers and other vertical projections above the roof line

  • Vertical emphasis

  • Flat roof, usually with parapet

Historic Burbank Theater

The most notable Art Deco structure in the Buena Vista area is the "Old Burbank Theater" built in 1949 at 552-560 S. Bascom Ave just to the west of the neighborhood.  The theater was a classic art house cinema, transitioning to a revival house cinema in the early 70's.  As movie theaters declined in popularity in the late 70s, the Burbank Theater pivoted to adult films before finally closing its doors in 1977.  

 

The flat roof with the neon "Burbank" sign towering above are hallmarks of Art Deco style.

Mid-Century Modern (Menker s of Scott)

The mid-century modern style, with its roomy interior and “easy living” connotation, appealed to the post-World War II generation. Although built in great quantities, not many can be seen in the city’s historic districts because the style achieved popularity after their development. Instead, they were built as infill housing.

Characteristics

  • Flat or slightly pitched roof

  • Prominent, built-in garages

  • One story

  • Asymmetrical massing and forms

  • Metal or wood window frames