Architecture goes California Crazy

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In 1920s America, at the dawn of the automobile age, diners and souvenir shops sought new, creative ways to lure drivers into their roadside establishments. The result was eccentric structures all along America’s Sunbelt, designed to be spotted from miles away.

The roster includes owls, dinosaurs, coffee-pots, and even a Mexican giant standing on a roof serving nachos and beer. At the time, the architectural establishment dismissed these structures as “monstrosities”, but they flourished nevertheless, and now they’re even celebrated.

California Crazy: American Pop Architecture is a collection of images of some of the best, compiled by Taschen’s executive editor Jim Heimann. The book also includes David Gebhard’s definitive essay, Roadside Vernacular Architecture, and traces the influences and attitudes that fostered the movement.

California Crazy. American Pop Architecture by Jim Heimann is published by Taschen, priced £40 www.taschen.com

© Jim Heimann Collection/Courtesy TASCHEN
© Jim Heimann Collection/Courtesy TASCHEN
© Jim Heimann Collection/Courtesy TASCHEN
© Jim Heimann Collection/Courtesy TASCHEN
© Jim Heimann Collection/Courtesy TASCHEN
© Jim Heimann Collection/Courtesy TASCHEN
© Jim Heimann Collection/Courtesy TASCHEN
© Jim Heimann Collection/Courtesy TASCHEN
California Crazy. Roadside Vernacular Architecture by Jim Heimann, published by Taschen
Marigold Warner

Marigold Warner joined the British Journal Photography in April 2018, and currently holds the position of Online Editor. She studied English Literature and History of Art at the University of Leeds, followed by an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London. Her work has been published by titles including the Telegraph Magazine, Huck, Gal-dem, Disegno, and the Architects Journal.