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The Art Deco and Streamline Moderne styles are interrelated and at first were considered one style. Modernist Art Deco is the vertical mode, and Steamline Moderne the horizontal.

Art Deco is mainly a style of decoration that employs “modernistic,” stylized motifs on essentially Neoclassical buildings. The style came to the United States after the 1925 Exposition des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris, which had prohibited historical references in the designs displayed. Visiting American architects were intrigued with the idea that modernity could be achieved through decoration. The almost frivolous and joyful explosion of decoration on Art Deco buildings made it extremely popular during the Great Depression. As a vertical style, it was also particularly well suited to skyscrapers. Rockefeller Center, the Empire State Building, and the Chrysler building are all examples.

Defining Characteristics:

• Vertical emphasis
• Zigzag, stylized geometric, Native American, or Mayan Motifs

Information and some images from Historic Denver guide books, including "A Guide to Denver's Architectural Styles and Terms." For more information please visit our online gift shop which offers over 20 of Historic Denver, Inc.'s award-winning historic neighborhood guide books!  Click here to browse & shop for our guidebooks.