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

This intriguing exhibit of architecture that never got built in Los Angeles offers a window into a future that wasn’t and a past that dreamed its way to oblivion. These images represent some of the structures that were conceived but never created in Los Angeles. Some of them would’ve been today’s white elephants, while others are missed by people who don’t even know they might have existed. Full information and more images below…

A+D Architecture and Design Museum>Los Angeles (A+D Museum) is pleased to announce the highly anticipated exhibition, Never Built: Los Angeles, on view July 28-September 29, 2013. Curated by Sam Lubell and Greg Goldin and designed by Clive Wilkinson Architects, Never Built: Los Angeles will explore the “what if” Los Angeles—what the city might have been—through a compendium of urban projects that never made it past the drawing board.

Lloyd-Wright Civic Center Plan 1925 (Courtesy Eric Lloyd Wright)

5-OMA:Rem Koolhaas LACMA proposal, 2001 (courtesy OMA)
Rem Koolhaas LACMA proposal 2001 (Courtesy OMA)

In words, drawings, models, videos and other media, Never Built: Los Angeles will examine visionary works that had the greatest potential to reshape Los Angeles. The exhibition will be organized in segments that explore unbuilt buildings, master plans, parks, follies and transportation schemes, all of which could have transformed both the physical reality and the collective perception of the metropolis. The stories surrounding these projects shed light on a reluctant city whose institutions and infrastructure have often undermined inventive, challenging public schemes.

Never-built large-scale visions include Olmsted and Bartholomew’s groundbreaking 1930 “Plan for the Los Angeles Region,” which, had it not been upended by business groups, would have increased the amount of green space in the notoriously park-poor city several times over; the Maguire Group’s 1980 plan for Grand Avenue, which would have injected unity and architectural exclamation into the placeless spine of downtown; and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Doheny Ranch, which would have replaced the monotonous suburban housing model with a collection of unique buildings clustered in a landscape of dramatic terraces and ravines.

Unrealized buildings include OMA/Rem Koolhaas’ 2001 plan for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which proposed to raze much of the disjointed complex and create a new one under a giant translucent roof; Jean Nouvel’s 2008 Green Blade, a condominium tower entirely clad in cascading plants; and John Lautner’s 1960s plan for Alto Capistrano, a series of spaceship-like apartments hovering above a mixed-use development. Additional ill-fated projects include various low- to moderate-income housing projects and plans for over 100 miles of subway tunnels that would have cohesively linked the vast metropolis. Many of these schemes—each promoting a denser, more connected, more vibrant city—are still relevant today.

Pereira and Luckman LAX proposal 1952 (Courtesy LAWA Flight Path learning Center)

B+U Downey Office Building 2009 (Courtesy B+U)

By allowing viewers to see Los Angeles in a new light, Never Built: Los Angeles examines what it is about Los Angeles that attracts some of the world’s most creative architects, yet often causes grand architectural schemes to flounder. The exhibition sets the stage for a renewed interest in visionary projects for the future of Los Angeles, challenging the city to think big again.


Goodell Monorail 1963 (Courtesy LACMA)

To learn more about the exhibition, visit the A+D Museum website.

July 27, 2013, 6:00-9:00PM
A+D Museum, 6032 Wilshire Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90036
Opening Reception Admission: $20 Individual, $15 Students with valid ID, A+D Members FREE
Museum Admission: $10 Individual, $5 Students/Seniors, Children under 12 and A+D Members FREE