The Exact Moment Austin, Texas Became Cool According To Science
(Austin, Texas) - Fashion trends are fun because each one has a different shelf life. Most trends rest more than expire. If you have been around for a while, you probably have noticed how trends, not just in Texas, tend to be cyclable. Everything that is old, somehow becomes new again.
If you're into furniture, you have recognized how mid-century décor is really hot again. Well, Austin in the 1950s became the center of cool, and it wasn't because of the architecture or interior design.
What made Austin officially cool in the 1950s?
2 words: Air Conditioning. Did you know that the very first designed community with homes featuring air conditioning happened in the North Austin neighborhood of Allendale?
According to this Atlas Obscura article on Austin's Air Conditioned Village:
"In 1954, these homes and the families living in them were subject to a year-long series of construction method tests, air conditioning installation tests, and social experiments implemented by dozens of the nation’s premier air conditioning companies, builders, and social scientists. The builders tried out a number of different features and technologies, including radiant barriers, white roofing, shading, vented gables, attic fans, and new insulation materials."
To boil it down, Austin was the guinea pig for in-home air conditioning. People in this neighborhood were studied for a year to see how big an impact A/C would have on their health and productivity.
Here's a neat video about the history of this community and its role in today's world.
What happened to the Air Conditioned Village?
Believe it or not, it is still there, and you can check out the houses for yourself. Now, these are people's homes, so you can't just wander in, but you can walk the neighborhood and see that much of it looks the same as when it was originally built.