‘Never Built Los Angeles’: Fascinating Renderings of the City as It Never Was

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The drafts, plans, 3D model renderings, and other early phases of the architectural design process can sometimes be more interesting than the projects themselves. Unencumbered by the prosaic realities of budgets, bureaucratic red tape, and limitations in engineering, ideas that have never entered development reflect a more ambitious and imaginative side to the practical discipline of architecture. Los Angeles in particular has proven itself to be a Mecca for a comparatively far-out brand of design. Maybe it’s all the wide-open SoCal space, the ever-present sunlight, or the fact that Hollywood is so fond of facades — when it chooses not to film on location or in Canada, that is. Or perhaps it’s just the freedom to design whatever outrageous things enter the minds of such an inordinate number of commercial artists working in the City of Angels. In conjunction with the A+D Museum’s newest exhibition, Never Built Los Angeles , Metropolis Books are issuing a glorious full-color tome with the same name. Both the show and book reveal a striking array of futuristic, freaky designs for Los Angeles buildings that were never meant to be, and the images of ill-fated construction projects are pretty amazing. Here’s a peek inside the book.

Drawing of main Allison and Allison plan, 1945. (Never Built Los Angeles, published by Metropolis Books)

Bird’s-eye view of terminal and satellites. (Never Built Los Angeles, published by Metropolis Books)

Robert Stacy-Judd National Hall: Meso-American palette for walls, pediments, corbels, and friezes (Never Built Los Angeles, published by Metropolis Books)

Sketch of infinity pool among saucers perched on promontory. (Never Built Los Angeles, published by Metropolis Books)

Model shows tensioned cables supporting floating roof. (Never Built Los Angeles, published by Metropolis Books)

OMA’s translucent roof puts all of LACMA under a single lid. (Never Built Los Angeles, published by Metropolis Books)

pg. 267: Entryway reveals replicas of architectural monuments from around the world. (Never Built Los Angeles, published by Metropolis Books)

A close encounter with Ice Age Los Angeles. (Never Built Los Angeles, published by Metropolis Books)

All transit modes accommodated. (Never Built Los Angeles, published by Metropolis Books)

Plaza brought to life by short-hop transit. (Never Built Los Angeles, published by Metropolis Books)