How railway travel inspired American diner architecture

In this Architectural Digest video, seasoned architect Michael Wyetzner talks about how the design of American diners has changed over time. He starts from when they were first created, and how their design was influenced by dining cars on trains. Back in the early 1900s, most people traveled by train, and many of the early diners were actually old train dining cars. These dining cars were narrow, leading to a layout with booth seats, counter seats, and an open kitchen. This design, which was influenced by the railroad, became a key feature of classic American diners.

As more people started using cars in the 1950s, diner designs began to change. They became brighter and more noticeable, a style known as Googie architecture. The start of the Space Race added even more new elements to these designs, making them look futuristic. But by 1964, people became less excited about these modern looks because of social and political problems.

Wyetzner explains that today's retro diners are a blend of design influences: the 1920s' train-based layout, the 1950s' car-centric Googie style, and the 1960s' space-age aesthetics. Now you know. (Digg)