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Dictionary of Wisconsin History

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Term: Art Deco (architecture)


a style popular ca. 1925-1945 that incorporated futuristic or highly stylized historical details that suggest machine precision such as angular hard edges and repeated geometric shapes. Low-relief geometrical ornamentation is characteristic of the style and is detailed with shallow fluted columns, chevrons, stylized sunbursts, and muted polychrome. Vertical lines are also stressed. Granite or terra cotta was popular for facing Art Deco buildings, and ornamental metal, particularly bronze, was often used on both the exterior and interior. The Wisconsin Gas Company Office Building (1930) in Milwaukee, designed by Eschweiler Eschweiler, is Wisconsin¿s most prominent
example of the Art Deco Style. The style was also popular for small-scale commercial buildings of the period. The two-story Gibson¿s Auto Exchange (1931) in Appleton¿s College Avenue Historic District (NRHP 1982) is an outstanding example of such an application. Another fine example of Art Deco is the fourstory Strong Building (1930) (NRHP 1983) at 400-408 E. Grand Avenue in Beloit. View more information elsewhere at 

View pictures relating to architecture at Wisconsin Historical Images.

[Source: Cultural Resource Management in Wisconsin (Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1986). ]
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