Never Built: Los Angeles

by | 07. Aug 2013

Exhibitions and Events
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A futuristic take on Los Angeles International Airport by Pereira and Luckman. Courtesy Los Angeles World Airports Flight Path Learning Center

By Morten Wilhelm Scholz

A new exhibition at the A+D Architecture and Design Museum in Los Angeles explores the “what if” Los Angeles focusing on the abundance of great projects that never left the drawing board. Among the exhibited projects are works by Jean Nouvel, John Lautner, Rem Koohlhaas, B+U and many more.

In their current exhibition the A+D Architecture and Design Museum is going speculative sci-fi on behalf of the City of Angels asking one of the all time great philosophical questions (up there along with “Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?” and “Does God Exist?”): the “What If?” question. More specifically “What If Something Other Had Been Build Rather Than What Was Actually Build In The Great City Of Los Angels?”

The exhibition, co-curated by Sam Lubell and Greg Goldin and designed by Clive Wilkinson Architects, takes a closer look at visionary works that had the greatest potential to reshape the city, from buildings to master plans, parks to follies and transportation proposals thus bringing to life an alternative version of Los Angeles.

Here at arcspace.com we think it is an absolutely grand idea for an exhibition.

From the A+D webpage we learn:

Many of these schemes-promoting a denser, more vibrant city-still have relevance today, and many could inspire future projects. The projects beg the question: Why were they never built?

The show contains dozens of illustrations exploring the visceral (and sometimes misleading) power of architectural ideas conveyed through renderings, blueprints, models, and the lost art of hand drawing. Through these images and accompanying narratives, the city is interpreted in a new light, with discarded projects understood as art.

A+D

Featured in the exhibition are more than 100 visionary works that could have transformed both the physical reality and the collective perception of the metropolis, from Olmsted Brothers and Bartholomew’s groundbreaking 1930 Plan for the Los Angeles Region, which would have increased the amount of green space in the notoriously park-poor city fivefold; to John Lautner’s Alto Capistrano, a series of spaceship-like apartments hovering above a mixed-use development; to Jean Nouvel’s 2008 Green Blade, a condominium tower clad in cascading plants and Baumgartner+Uriu’s office building clad entirely in fabric.

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In 1925 Frank Lloyd Wright came up with a plan for a Civic Center that would have been reminiscent of an acropolis. Lloyd Wright, Civic Center Plan (Courtesy Eric Lloyd Wright/ UCLA Special Collections)

Along with the exhibition an extensive catalogue with the same name is available. Are you unable to visit Los Angeles in the upcoming months there is also a very nifty app available free of charge, and right here on the web you find a nice little film showing of some of the great never built projects.

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Frank Lloyd Wright – Huntington Hartford Sports Club, 1947 (Courtesy Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation)

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Kelker & Deleuw –  Goodell Monorail, 1963 (Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Research Library and Archive)

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Kelker & Deleuw –  Goodell Monorail, 1963 (Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Research Library and Archive)

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John Lautner – Alto Capistrano Apartments, 1960s

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John Lautner – Griffith Park Nature Center, 1972 (Courtesy Getty Research Institute)

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Murphy Jahn – Figueroa Tower, 1987 (Courtesy Jahn)

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Masterplan for the Los Angeles region by Haralamb H. Georgescu

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Neutra and Alexander – Elysian Park Heights, 1950 (Courtesy Southern California LIbrary For Social Science Research)

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Neutra and Alexander – Elysian Park Heights, 1950 (Courtesy Southern California LIbrary For Social Science Research)

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Rudolph Schindler – Union Oil Gas Station prototype, 1933 (Art Design and Architecture Library UCSB)

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Santa Monica Offshore Freeway, 1965 (courtesy City of Santa Monica)

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Santa Monica Offshore Freeway, 1965 (courtesy City of Santa Monica)

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William H. Evans – Tower Of Civilization, 1939 (courtesy Huntington Library)

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CITY Los Angeles, California
COUNTRY USA

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