A new exhibit called "Never Built" at the Architecture + Design Museum in Los Angeles takes a look at many city planning projects that were never fully developed. The following images are all part of the show, which is open at the museum through October 27, 2013.
LAX Airport proposal
This image depicts part of a master plan for Los Angeles International Airport designed by the firm of architects William Pereira and Charles Luckman in 1952. The concept included a centralized, circular terminal building housed under an enormous glass dome, six elevated passageways radiating out to aircraft loading gates, and a grand concourse graced by palm and banana trees. The plan died because the Los Angeles Building Department found it too radical, the cost of air conditioning would have been exorbitant, and the airlines wanted their own individual terminals instead.
In 2001, Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas proposed linking and uniting the hodgepodge of buildings making up the Los Angeles County Museum of Art with a single translucent, pillowed roof made of plastic-like polymers. The futuristic structure would be supported by a grid of cables on steel stilts spanning the entire museum floor. But the $200 million price tag scared the museum's administrators who, facing budget shortages and nervous donors, abandoned the design.
This is New York-based architect Steven Holl's 2002 competition-winning proposal for a complete redesign of the buildings and grounds of the Los Angeles Natural History Museum. This sketch shows the new entryway with a dramatic cantilevered roof and completely vine-covered "green wall." The museum was also designed to include rooftop gardens which would gradually slope down in tilted segments from top floor to ground level. This idea died from a lack of fundraising and too much internal strife on the museum's board of trustees.
In the early 1960s, city planners and highway engineers in the seaside city of Santa Monica, Calif., pitched the idea of an offshore freeway running along six miles of Santa Monica Bay from the city's famed pier all the way to Malibu. Visionary millionaire John Drescher envisioned a 30,000-feet-long chain of small man-made islands with housing and marinas, similar to the Florida Keys. Santa Monica paid $30,000 for a feasibility study and the city council approved the project, only to face a rebellion from residents, led by "Gunsmoke" star James Arness, who feared the destruction of the bay's natural habitat. In Sept. 1965, then-California governor Pat Brown vetoed the causeway, killing it for good.
Real estate developer William Evans and civil engineer Donald Warren conceived their "Tower of Civilization" as the centerpiece of a proposed Los Angeles World's Fair, to be held in the 1940s, shortly after the end of World War II. The tower was supposed to be 150-feet in diameter and soar 1,290-feet high, making it the tallest structure in the world at the time. Winding around the needle-thin shaft would be the Path of the Ages, a three-mile-long helix-shaped staircase leading to an observatory. But as the war wound down, money failed to materialize, and neither the fair nor the tower ever came to be.
Between 1953 and 1963, there were multiple proposals for a public transportation monorail system after the California state legislature ordered Los Angeles to study a line that would stretch from the San Fernando Valley to Long Beach via downtown. This image is the vision of Houston entrepreneur Murel Goodell, who claimed he could build a 60 mile system for $214 million and that it would feature dangling pods capable of going 90 miles per hour. However, his proposal was held up when the city of Beverly Hills rejected the monorail concept and demanded that a subway be dug down Wilshire Boulevard instead. Ironically, the city of Beverly Hills is currently fighting a proposal to extend the city's current subway down that exactly same route today.
Frank Lloyd Wright's "Play Resort" in Hollywood Hills for Huntington Hartford sketch
In 1947, famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright teamed with A&P grocery chain heir and playboy Huntington Hartford II to dream up the Huntington Hartford Sports Club
Credit: Architecture + Design Museum
John Lautner's Griffith Park nature center proposal
Los Angeles-based architect John Lautner conjured up this 14,000-square-foot nature center for the center of the city
Credit: Architecture + Design Museum
Frank Lloyd Wright's Los Angeles Civic Center proposal
In 1925 Frank Lloyd Wright entered this and other sketches as his vision of a master plan for the Los Angeles Civic Center. It was his entry in a competition sponsored by the city asking for a new concept for the metropolitan core. The design took the form of an elongated cross, with a 500-foot wide terraced walkway flanked by twin pairs of connected buildings that grew in height as they progressed up downtown Los Angeles' Bunker Hill. Wright later called it an "acropolis for the city," and it was designed to hold Los Angeles' City Hall, county offices, courthouses, a police station, post office and the chamber of commerce. The city chose another scheme, designed by Wright's nemesis Allied Architects, which instead limited itself to the streets around current city hall.