The architectural styles of the 1920s and 1930s

The turn of the 20th century brought about a change in architectural styles in the United States. By the 1920s and 1930s, American architects were experimenting with various new design styles. Residential homes reflected everything from Art Deco linear design concepts to Mediterranean stucco homes with tile roofs. The commercial buildings of this time period include arched and columned hotels and churches and modern takes on traditional European designs.

Art Deco

The Art Deco style was a vertically oriented, linear design that became popular after a Paris design exhibition, in 1925. Architects used this style mostly for commercial buildings and less for residential. Many of the buildings had metal window casings, square windows cut from a smooth stucco wall and flat roofs adorned with tall towers. The largest concentration of classic Art Deco commercial buildings in the U.S. is in the South Beach district of Miami, Florida.


By the 1930s, American architects and publisher Gustav Stickley helped popularise Craftsman architecture with interior rooms based around a central living area. The exterior of these homes showcased wide porches with low, gabled roofs that wide-based, stone-clad columns held in place. As the middle class grew during the postwar era, the need for small single-family homes helped the design proliferate throughout the U.S.

Tudor Revival

The Tudor style underwent an American revival in the first part of the century. The mostly residential style included exterior features like steeply pitched roofs with large overhangs and brick or stucco siding. The interiors had oversized fireplaces and arched doorways with ornate hardware. This style remained popular through the 1950s.

Mediterranean Revival

During the turn of the 20th century and peaking by the 1920s and 1930s, Americans living along the California and Florida coastal regions became interested in the old-style seaside villas in Italy. The exteriors were built with stucco walls and tile roofs, and adorned with symmetrical facades, arches and large keystones. The style was used for everything from hotels and commercial buildings to modest residential homes.

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About the Author

Tela Lewis has written professionally since 2006. She primarily writes about travel destinations, women's issues, healthy relationships, real estate, property management and construction safety. Lewis produces articles for various local publications, including a monthly wine and travel newsletter. She has an Associate of Arts degree in English literature from Solano College.