Never Built Los Angeles (Hardcover)

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By Sam Lubell, Greg Goldin, Thom Mayne (Foreword by)

Staff Reviews

21,000 acres of the Santa Monica mountains almost became a sprawling retail utopia called Sunset Mountain. There were plans to demolish the Santa Monica Pier and build a hotel rising from the surf and accessed by a tunnel. L.A.'s Catholic Cathedral was almost a 50-story skyscraper designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Unfortunately, in my opinion, none of these architectural marvels came to pass. Los Angeles' extant tradition of architectural innovation is wonderful but the book Never Built Los Angeles gives an insider's look into what could have been, or at the very least, what architects dream of when they go to sleep. We almost had an inverted building in the shape of a water drop suspended 700 feet in the air! Check it out. -- Cameron Carlson

— From Even More Beautiful Gift Books 2013


Never Built Los Angeles explores the "what if" Los Angeles, investigating the values and untapped potential of a city still in search of itself. A treasure trove of buildings, master plans, parks, follies and mass-transit proposals that only saw the drawing board, the book asks: why is Los Angeles a mecca for great architects, yet so lacking in urban innovation? Featured 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 entirely in cascading plants. Through text and more than 400 color and black-and-white illustrations drawn from archives around the U.S., authors Sam Lubell and Greg Goldin explore the visceral (and sometimes misleading) power of architectural ideas conveyed through sketches, renderings, blueprints, models and the now waning art of hand drawing. Many of these schemes--promoting a denser, more vibrant city--are still relevant today and could inspire future designs. Never Built Los Angeles will set the stage for a renewed interest in visionary projects in this, one of the world's great cities.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781935202967
ISBN-10: 1935202960
Publisher: Metropolis Books
Publication Date: July 31st, 2013
Pages: 375
Language: English