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Deco Delights Arizona


Imperial Schools (Formerly General Motors Testing Laboratory)
Phoenix, AZ
Photos and info Elgin MacMillan


The Imperial Schools building in Phoenix, AZ was formerly the home of the General Motors Testing Laboratory back in the day. Here is some information on this mid-century era building, which had been originally designed in the streamline moderne style.

(Far right) The interesting looking sign on top of the roof of the Imperial Schools


General Motors Testing Laboratory
2001 E. Roosevelt in Phoenix Arizona.
Architect: Austin Co., from Cleveland OH
Photos and info courtesy Elgin MacMillan


Built in 1937 as the General Motors Testing Laboratory, this is the best example in Phoenix of the streamlined style of the modernistic movement. The building was constructed as a testing laboratory for automobiles and armored tanks prior to WWII. The site was General Motors' first permanent proving ground in the West and was in use until 1953.

The building is exclusively streamlined modern in design and is the first structure in Phoenix to have exploited the extensive use of glass block as "modern" material. There are painted-over glass blocks underneath the louvers.


The above text has been excerpted from:

A Guide to the Architecture of Metro Phoenix by the Central Arizona Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, 1983.

Many thanks to Elgin MacMillan for referencing this information.








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