A+D Architecture and Design Museum
Los Angeles, California, USA
On view: July 28, 2013 – October 13, 2013

Never Built: Los Angeles explores the “what if” Los Angeles. A thorough compendium of projects that only saw the drawing board, the exhibition asks: Why is Los Angeles a hotbed of great architects, yet so lacking in urban innovation?

Never built LAX.jpg
A futuristic take on Los Angeles International Airport by Pereira and Luckman. Courtesy Los Angeles World Airports Flight Path Learning Center

Co-curated by Sam Lubell and Greg Goldin and designed by Clive Wilkinson Architects, the show looks at visionary works that had the greatest potential to reshape the city, from buildings to master plans, parks to follies and transportation proposals any 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 urban schemes.

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. Never Built probes these schemes, setting the stage for a renewed interest in visionary projects in Los Angeles.

Proposal for the Santa Monica Offshore Freeway. It was vetoed by Gov. Edmund G. “Pat” Brown in 1965. Courtesy City of Santa Monica
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