Skip to main content
Article
“The best surprise is no surprise”: Architecture, imagery, and omnitopia among American mom and pop motels
Space and Culture (2005)
  • Andrew F Wood, San Jose State University
Abstract
This essay explores the critical role of motels as markers of transition between idiosyncratic locales and homogenized chains. Toward that end, the essay expands on a newly proposed concept of om- nitopia—an intersection of architectural design and human practice through which distinct places become nodes of a perpetual continuum—by focusing on the construction of “place” in roadside motels. From the analysis of omnitopia found in early-20th-century motels, three practices emerge: dislocation through vernacular architecture, fragmentation through iconic signage, and mutability through roadside simulacra.
Keywords
  • architecture,
  • gaze,
  • motels,
  • omnitopia,
  • simulacra,
  • theming,
  • tourism,
  • vernacular
Disciplines
Publication Date
2005
Publisher Statement
SJSU users: use the following link to login and access the article via SJSU databases.
Citation Information
Andrew F Wood. "“The best surprise is no surprise”: Architecture, imagery, and omnitopia among American mom and pop motels" Space and Culture Vol. 8 Iss. 4 (2005) ISSN: 1206-3312
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/andrew_wood/10/