PWA Moderne (or "P.W.A. Moderne", PWA/WPA Moderne, Federal Moderne, Depression Moderne, Classical Moderne, Stripped Classicism) is an architectural style of many buildings in the United States completed between 1933 and 1944, during and shortly after the Great Depression as part of relief projects sponsored by the Public Works Administration (PWA) and the Works Progress Administration (WPA).
The style draws from traditional motifs such as Beaux-Arts classicism and Art Deco and is similar to Streamline Moderne, often with zigzag ornamentation added. The structures reflect a greater use of conservative and classical elements and have a monumental feel. They include post offices, train stations, public schools, libraries, civic centers, courthouses, museums, bridges, and dams across the country. Banks were also built in the style because such buildings radiated authority.
Elements of the style
Typical elements of PWA Moderne buildings include:
- Classical balanced and symmetrical form
- Windows arranged as vertical recessed panels
- Surfaces sheathed in smooth, flat stone or stucco
Examples of PWA buildings
Examples of PWA buildings and structures include:
- Hoover Dam (Boulder Dam) – on the Colorado River in Arizona and Nevada.
- Arizona State Fairgrounds Grandstand (1936–1937) – Phoenix, Arizona. The exterior of the grandstand has 23 bas-relief panels by David Carrick Swing and Florence Blakeslee, that were funded by the Federal Art Project.
- WPA Administration Building (1938) – at 19th Avenue and McDowell Road on the Arizona State Fairgrounds, Phoenix, Arizona. It was headquarters for Works Progress Administration−WPA projects in Arizona.
- Ed Austin Building (former Federal Courthouse, current State Attorney's Office), 1933, Marsh & Saxelbye
Greater Los Angeles
- Burbank: Burbank City Hall, Allen Lutzi
- Culver City:
- El Segundo: El Segundo Elementary School, 1936
- Hermosa Beach: North School, 1934 Samuel Lunden (Per File #19-45 of DSA Records); Pier Avenue School, 1939, March, Smith, and Powell
- Inglewood: Inglewood Memorial Park, buildings 1933 and 1940, Walter E. Erkes
- Lancaster: Post Office (1940, Louis A. Simon and former School Building (c. 1937)
- Lawndale: Leuzinger High School, T.C. Kistner & Cómo.; Kistner & Curtis; Eugene D. Birnbaum and Associates
- Long Beach
- Los Angeles:
- Abraham Lincoln High School (Lincoln Heights), 1937–38, Albert C. Martin
- Carpenter Community Charter School
- Distribution Station #28, Department of Water and Power (West L.A.), 1945–46, G. E. Benker, engineer
- Federal Building and Post Office (now U.S. Federal Courthouse), 1938–1940, Louis A. Simon
- Hall of Administration, 1956–1961: A continuation of the PWA Moderne style in the 1950s
- Hollywood Branch Post Office, 1937, Claude Beellman, Allison and Allison
- Pacific Stock Exchange, 1929–30, Samuel E. Lunden
- Police and Fire Station of Venice, c. 1930
- San Pedro High School, 1935–1937, Gordon B. Kaufman
- Sepulveda Dam, 1941, flood control dam on the Los Angeles River in the San Fernando Valley, 1939–1941, War Department
- U.S. Customs House and Post Office (San Pedro), 1935
- U.S. Naval and Marine Corps Armory, 1939–40, Stiles Clements
- University of Southern California campus: Alan Hancock Foundation and Memorial Museum, 1940, Cram and Ferguson
- Armory Gallery (former California State Armory), 1932, Bennett and Haskell
- Grover Cleveland Elementary School, 1934
- San Gabriel: San Gabriel Union Church and School, 1936
- Santa Monica:
- National Trust and Savings, c. 1935, William H. Harrison
- Whittier Post Office, 1935, Louis A. Simon
- Whittier-Union High School, 1939–40, William H. Harrison
Elsewhere in California
- Bakersfield: Kern County Hall of Records, 1939 remodel, Chris Brewer
- Fresno: County Hall of Records, 1937, Allied Architects of Fresno
- Jackson: Amador County Courthouse, 1940 remodel, George Sellon 
- Oakland: Alameda County Courthouse, 1939 
- Salinas: Monterey County Courthouse, 1937, Robert Stanton & Charles Butner
- San Diego: San Diego County Administration Center, 1938, Samuel Wood Hamill, William Templeton Johnson, Richard Requa, Louis John Gill
- San Francisco: San Francisco Mint, 1937
- San Luis Obispo: San Luis Obispo County Courthouse, 1940, Walker & Eisen
- Santa Cruz: Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, 1939 
- Visalia: Tulare County Courthouse (now Department of Public Social Services), 1935, Ernest Kump
District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.)
- Folger Shakespeare Library, 1932, Paul Philippe Cret
- Library of Congress Annex (John Adams Building), 1939, Pierson & Wilson
- Harry S Truman Building (particularly the War Department building) of the United States Department of State, 1939, Underwood & Foster
- Animosa: Jones County Courthouse, 1937, Dougher, Rich and Woodburn
- Audubon: Audubon County Court House, 1940, Keffer and Jones
- Atlantic: Cass County Courthouse, 1934, Dougher, Rich and Woodburn
- Burlington: Des Moines County Court House, 1940, Keffer and Jones
- Charles City: Floyd County Court House, 1940, Hansen & Waggoner
- Dakota City: Humboldt County Courthouse, 1939
- Independence: Buchanan County Court House, 1940, Dougher, Rich and Woodburn
- Indianola: Warren County Court House, 1939, Keffer and Jones
- St. Olaf: St. Olaf Auditorium, 1939
- Sioux City: Sioux City Municipal Auditorium, 1938–50, Knute E. Westerlind
- Waukon: Allamakee County Court House, 1940, Charles Altfillisch
- Waverly: Bremer County Court House, 1937, Mortimer Cleveland
- Austin: Heman Marion Sweatt Travis County Courthouse 1930,1931, Page Brothers
- Longview: Gregg County Courthouse 1932, Voelcker and Dixon
- Orderville: Valley School
- Provo: Superintendent's Residence at the Utah State Hospital, 1934 (Colonial Revival/PWA Moderne)
- Santaquin: Santaquin Junior High School
- Fullerton Heritage site
- The Grove Encyclopedia of American Art, Volume 1, Joan M. Marter, ed., p. 147
- McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction
- Arizona.edu: "The New Deal in Arizona: Connections to Our Historic Landscape", University of Arizona, The New Deal in Arizona Chapter of the National New Deal Preservation Association.
- Arizona.edu: Photos of New Deal projects in Arizona
- KJZZ.org: "Did You Know: Arizona State Fairgrounds 110 Years Old", by Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez, 21 August 2015; with images of the WPA Grandstand and Administration Building.
- Living New Deal Blog: Arizona State Fairgrounds Stadium and Art
- Phoenix New Times: "Demolition of WPA Civic Building at Arizona State Fairgrounds on Temporary Hold", 18 July 2014.
- Youtube.com: "1938 WPA Administration Building in 1949 & 1969"
- "Azfamily.com: "$200,000 to go toward preserving State Fairgrounds WPA Administration Building"". Retrieved 10 April 2016.
- "PWA Moderne", Los Angeles Conservancy website
- An Arch Guidebook to Los Angeles, Robert Winter, p. 322
- "Fresno County, US Courthouses". Retrieved 11 Aug 2016.
- "Amador County, US Courthouses". Retrieved 11 Aug 2016.
- "Alameda County, US Courthouses". Retrieved 11 Aug 2016.
- "Monterey County, US Courthouses". Retrieved 11 Aug 2016.
- "San Diego County, US Courthouses". Retrieved 11 Aug 2016.
- "San Luis Obispo County, US Courthouses". Retrieved 11 Aug 2016.
- "Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium - Santa Cruz CA - Living New Deal". Retrieved 11 Aug 2016.
- "Tulare County, US Courthouses". Retrieved 11 Aug 2016.
- "Tulare County Department of Public Social Services - Visalia CA - Living New Deal". Retrieved 11 Aug 2016.
- "Gregg County Courthouse, Longview, Texas". www.texasescapes.com. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
- "William K. Nakamura Federal Courthouse - Seattle WA - Living New Deal". Retrieved 11 Aug 2016.
- Greif, Martin. Depression Modern: The Thirties Style in America. New York: Universe Books, 1975.
- Prosser, Daniel. "The New Deal Builds: Government Architecture during the New Deal". Timeline vol. 9, no. 1 (1992): 40–54.
- United States Public Works Administration. America Builds: The Record of PWA. Washington, D.C.: PWA, 1939.