Simply Marvelous: Phoenix’s Mid-Century Commercial Architecture

Published by the Phoenix Historic Preservation Office in January 2011 (and now in its second printing), the coffee table book “Midcentury Marvels: Commercial Architecture of Phoenix, 1945 – 1975” is features a great collection of photographs and details about the history of mid-century commercial architecture in Phoenix. It also profiles the architects who shaped modern Phoenix — Frank Lloyd Wright, Ralph Haver, Al Beadle, and Bennie Gonzales among them. In some cases, photographs (and the memory of long-time locals) are all that’s left of these architectural desert jewels. But despite some lamentable tear-downs, the Phoenix area still boasts some fine examples of high-style Modern and Googie architecture in everything from banks and offices to restaurants and hotels. This book covers just commercial structures, so we’re hoping a companion book on Phoenix’s residential mid-century marvels will come out some day. Meanwhile, this book is a must-have for anyone fascinated by the Valley of the Sun’s mid-century modern architecture like we are.

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