Sunday, October 16, 2011
Tropical Space Age Architecture- Part 1
Cover Art, Amazing Stories, 1963
Tropical Space Age Architecture is a term coined by Desoto Brown of the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, Hawaii. He describes the architectural style as "A comtemporary Island Idiom merging the Jet Age with the Tropics."
It was a mid-century design style that was popular in Hawaii, however, local architects and islanders did not particulary appreciate the outlandish look. As of today, most of these buildings are long gone. However, if you dig around long enough, you can also find many fine examples of Tropical Space Age buildings that were built here on the mainland.
The Space Age future as envisoined on Saturday morning cartoons in 1962.
Upon closer inspection, that space age design looks vaguely familar......
....Ah yes, That's it. The Hyperbolic Parabolid shaped lobby of the Waikikian Hotel in Honolulu (demolished 1997), a stunning example of Tropical Space Age.
That's a neato design......have I seen that as a tiki restaurant before?.....
...Not exactly the same, but another gleaming example of Tropical Space Age. This was the Hilton Inn in St. Petersburg, Florida. The hotel hosted three different Polynesian Restaurants, including the beachside Aekai restaurant, the Luau Room (on the 10th floor, accessed via the exterior glass elevator on the front of the building), and the rotating Bali Hai Lounge on the top of the building (what an excellent place to sip an exotic cocktail while waiting for your resversation down in the Luau Room.) Note the beautiful upswept Port Cochere over the front door.
...A few of the stand alone Don the Beachcomber restaurants echoed this UFO inspired design, including...
Don the Beachcomber, Marina Del Rey, California
Don the Beachcomber, Dallas, Texas.
The Dallas location had the overall round UFO shape, but added additional exterior elements like the upswept decorative beams over the entrance, the waterfall and bridge over the lagoon, and flaming tiki torches in the lagoon and on the roof of the building.
In 2001, photographer Tony Paiva created this Photoshop art titled 'Trad'r Rix Tiki Island' which is a literal interpretation of Tropical Space Age style.