What Is the Art Deco Style?

How to Identify Architectural Styles in the Washington, DC Area

The Washington, DC metropolitan area is extremely versatile, featuring a large number of architectural styles. Art Deco is one such style, with distinctive features. But there are so many different styles, so how can you identify Art Deco?

What Is an Art Deco Style House?

What is an Art Deco home? What are its distinguishing characteristics? Art Deco buildings and houses are characterized by their monolithic appearance with applied decorative motifs. Elements include:

  • Roofs with parapets, spires, or tower-like constructs
  • Steel and aluminum, especially with glass blocks and decorative opaque plate glass
  • Windows arranged in a continuous horizontal band of glass
  • Door surrounds embellished with either reeding (convex decoration) or fluting (concave decoration)

Brief Summary of the Art Deco Style

A creative but short-lived movement, Art Deco influenced the architecture of most American cities. Art Deco was first applied to public and commercial buildings in the 1920s. Although individual homes were rarely designed in the Art Deco style, architects and developers, especially in Greater Washington, DC, found that the style adapted quite well to apartment buildings. Buildings were richly embellished with hard-edged, low-relief designs: geometric shapes (including chevrons and ziggurats) and stylized floral and sunrise patterns.

Pictures of Art Deco Style Architecture

Kennedy-Warren Apartments


Greyhound Terminal


Contact the Wentworth team today to learn more or if you’re ready to remodel your home!

“ Hi, Bruce,
I look forward to your articles in Chevy Chase Village Life -- I love bungalows so I immediately read the article in the latest issue that arrived yesterday (as your team was here planning for the photo shoot). I also liked the Sponsor Spotlight this month -- featuring your company. Is it possible to get a reprint or link to your article on porches that appeared recently? I would love to add one to our NC beach home, but so far no one has been able to figure out how to get access from the inside to the outside! I know my sister would love to see the article too. Thanks for ALL of your amazing work. I hope you will feel free (and confident) to use us as references. The only hard part will be communicating what an outstanding job -- beyond our high expectations -- your team did for us. We are demanding, but your team is more demanding in the excellence that they deliver. ”

Linda, Chevy Chase, MD