The term “American dream” was coined by James Truslow Adams in 1931, saying that “life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement” regardless of social class or circumstances of birth. This expression contains the ideals Americans strive for, characterized by freedom of opportunities.
In this article, we will explore briefly how this concept has influenced American Architecture and if there is an architecture that embodies the American dream.
American Dream in Architecture: What about it?
Before digging into the details of the American dream realization in architecture, it’s crucial to understand what features make the portrait of such architecture. Experts such as the architect Leopold Eidlitz consider experiments, extraordinary design, and covering one thing with another as the main characteristics in this context.
However, it’s good to go through American dream essay examples to analyze the topic better and come up with a definition. Students will benefit the most from such research because it’s also a great chance to learn how to structure a paper correctly and enhance their writing skills. Sometimes a good example is better than ten lectures and explanations.
From theory – to practice.
Let’s find out what buildings can serve as American dream architecture examples. We will talk about American academic campuses and the city of Las Vegas. As Dutch architect, Mr. Al Stefan explains in “The Strip: Las Vegas and the Architecture of the American Dream,” the city is “more representative of American architectural trends than we would like to admit.” And far from being an indiscriminate mess of bad taste, the Strip has long been a seedbed for “extraordinary design experimentation.”
Las Vegas tourist architecture has become a canvas on which architects wrote history. Specialists can trace all changes in the culture, construction methods, and lifestyle by looking at the city’s resorts.
Both El Rancho and the Last Frontier were the first resorts to be built. They were based on romanticized visions of the American West from the 1920s and 1930s that combined elements of Spanish missions with the Hollywood version of a Western town. Exotic touches such as cow horns and saddle seats adorned the decor. Mr. Al describes how one architect got to the core of Western design, which was all about faking the picture by emulating saloons from old movies.
Another characteristic of the “American dream Architecture” in Las Vegas is found in hotels. From the budget-friendly Flamingo and Thunderbird to the exclusive Tropicana, they share long, low profiles, walls of glass, and pools with sensual curves. Many of these homes took blatant inspiration from Los Angeles’ contemporary drive-in coffee shops, Palm Springs’ resorts, Miami’s hotels, and Frank Lloyd Wright’s ranch houses.
The Academic Campus
The modern college campus is one of the most innovative ideas from the United States. You may not think of it as the architecture of the American dream since it is not as iconic as a skyscraper. Despite this, few buildings have created spaces that better represent the finest of American principles. American campuses are the embodiment of the nation’s democracy. It’s also about a feeling of progress and willingness to accept and embrace a wide range of identities by bringing them together in shared spaces like courtyards, dorm rooms, lecture halls, and labs. This structure represents the idealized form that the United States aspires to take.
In the United States, people initially started thinking of universities as a field with academic buildings apart from the surrounding city or natural environment. The buildings and grounds served to reinforce the lessons taught inside them. And it included not just the standard subjects but also arts, etiquette, and teamwork. Americans always knew the importance of art classes and creative development for becoming full-fledged citizens.
The American dream campus could get many shapes and designs. Gothic towers and ambulatories offered an image of monastic concentration and commitment to study. Neocolonial stretches of brick topped by white gables symbolized American ideals of democracy. However, the meaning behind it was always the same. Students from all over the globe learned to develop their unique visions within the common and inherited environment. A sense of belonging, independence, and limitless opportunities to realize one’s aspirations all merged in that one location.
Architecture is the face of history, the present, and the future. But it can also be the embodiment of the spirit of the nation. We hope this article has clarified the essential characteristics of architecture embodying the concept of the American dream. Of course, there are other examples of architecture associated with this concept. Let this material inspire you to find new examples of your own.