POST-WORLD WAR II AND OPERATION OUTDOORS

Following World War II, the context of recreation

use and architecture in the United States

changed again. The post-war economic boom

created demand for recreation on the national

forests. It also increased distribution of

manufactured and finished materials throughout

the country.

 

In 1956, the National Park Service began

“Mission 66,” a 10-year program to upgrade

its facilities by the agency’s 50th anniversary.

The Forest Service began a parallel program

called “Operation Outdoors” in 1957. Designers

in both programs consciously departed from

the nostalgic rustic style and embraced the

tenets of the international style and modern

design. This style included simple forms with

clean, straight edges; functional design with

little ornamentation or decoration; and the

use of manufactured rather than handcrafted

materials.

 

In addition, construction practices reflected a

new era of manufacturing technology, distribution

processes, and human resources. As such,

facilities from that era reflect the practical

realities and the spirit of their time as clearly as

those built by the CCC. This modern era resulted

in some landmark structures, as well as many

other examples of design excellence. In other

cases, the new manufactured materials proved

less durable than the natural materials of the

rustic era. Many people sensed that modern

design, in general, was less evocative of and

sensitive to the forest settings.

 

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