Art Deco Style Architecture in Nevada

Courtesy of the Nevada State Historic Preservation Office.

The Reno downtown Post Office (1933) is a classic Art Deco style building. Noted Nevada architect Frederic DeLongchamps designed the structure, which features stylized decorative motifs in concrete, black marble, and cast aluminum.

Art Deco was a style that influenced everything in the visual and decorative arts. The 1925 Exposition des Arts Décoratifs in Paris made the Art Deco movement international. The style established a thoroughly modern look that would, in its permutations, affect the rest of the twentieth century and even the next century.

The Art Deco style celebrates the Machine Age through explicit use of man-made materials (particularly glass and stainless steel), symmetry, and repetition. It was adopted in the United States during the Great Depression for its practicality and simplicity. Art Deco buildings feature stylized ornamentation with forms based on angles and sometimes geometric curves. Chevrons, zigzags, fluting, and similar details define the style. A related movement called Streamline Moderne followed closely behind. Art Moderne was influenced by aerodynamic designs emerging from advancing technologies in aviation.

In Nevada, prominent Art Deco structures include the Reno downtown Post Office (1934) and the old Nevada Supreme Court Building (1937) in Carson City, both designed by Frederic DeLongchamps. The Las Vegas High School (1930), now the Las Vegas Academy, exhibits a distinct form of Art Deco, employing Mayan motifs. Hoover Dam (1935) is the most monumental example of the style in Nevada. Although Art Deco was largely passé by 1945, the Mapes Hotel and Casino in Reno, which dated back to 1947 and was eventually demolished in 2000, exhibited the style.

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