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Raygun Gothic- Late Futuristism Approximate Dates 1955 to the present - see also Futurist architecture

See also- Streamline Art Moderne, Googie architecture
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Raygun Gothic

A 1950s coffee shop sign evocative of then-nascent spaceflight on Olympic Boulevard in Los Angeles

Raygun Gothic is a catchall term for a visual style that incorporates various aspects of the Googie, Streamline Moderne and Art Deco architectural styles when applied to retro-futuristic science fiction environments. Academic Lance Olsen has characterised Raygun Gothic as "a tomorrow that never was". The style has also been associated with architectural indulgence, and situated in the context of the golden age of modern design due to its use of features such as "single-support beams, acute angles, brightly colored paneling" as well as "shapes and cutouts showing motion"


The term was coined by William Gibson in his story "The Gernsback Continuum":
Cohen introduced us and explained that Dialta [a noted pop-art historian] was the prime mover behind the latest Barris-Watford project, an illustrated history of what she called "American Streamlined Modern." Cohen called it "raygun Gothic." Their working title was The Airstream Futuropolis: The Tomorrow That Never Was.

– William Gibson, The Gernsback Continuum

Although Raygun Gothic is most similar to the Googie or Populuxe style and sometimes synonymous with it, the name is primarily applied to images of science fiction — it describes the typical mad scientist laboratory as seen in films like Bride of Frankenstein and Fritz Lang's Metropolis, as well as the architecture of The Jetsons and, more recently, Futurama and Dexter's Laboratory. The style is also still a popular choice for retro sci-fi in film and video games, such as the designs for the films Mars Attacks! or Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow and the video game series Fallout. Raygun Gothic's primary influences include the set designs of Kenneth Strickfaden and Fritz Lang.

^ Olsen, Lance. ""The Future of Narrative": Speculative Criticism: or Thirteen Ways of Speaking in an Imperfect Tense". ParaDoxa 4 (11): 375. Retrieved on 3 November 2007.
^ a b "Raygun Gothic and Populuxe Culture: The Next American City, Today!". The Next American City (2008-01-14). Retrieved on 2008-01-21.
^ "The Gernsback Continuum" in Gibson, William (1986). Burning Chrome. New York: Arbor House. ISBN 9780877957805.

Alonso, Carlos (1998). Julio Cortázar. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521452106.

Futurism is a broad trend in modern design which aspires to create architecture of an imagined future, normally thought to be at least 10 years into the future. The beginnings of Futurist architecture go back to the visionary drawings of Italian architect Antonio Sant'Elia, as well as the "Googie architecture" of 1950s California and subsequent Space Age trends. Early features of Futurism included fins and ledges, bubble shapes and sweeping curves. The style has been reinterpreted by different generations of architects across several decades, but is usually marked by striking shapes, clean lines, and advanced materials. One of the original futurists is the California-based architect William Pereira, who designed the Encounter Restaurant at LAX Airport and the Transamerica Pyramid. Later firms whose work fits in this category include Arthur Erickson Architectural Corporation and Carlos A. Ott.