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Never Built Los Angeles Hardcover – July 31, 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Mind-blowing...a majestic dream-book and fantastic roadmap to never-built Los Angeles. (Mike Sonksen KCET.org)

The Architecture and Design Museum's " Never Built Los Angeles" exhibition is filled with dream projects that have lessons for L.A. and its leaders. (Christopher Hawthorne LATIMES.COM)

A history of what didn't happen can sometimes be even more revealing and thought provoking than what did. That curious inversion of circumstance fuels Never Built: Los Angeles, a show at the A+D Architecture and Design Museum focused on more than a century of ambitiuous designs, some right on the brink of realization - that never broke ground in the city. (Sarah Amelar Architectural Record)

" Never Built Los Angeles ... a compendium of more than 100 architectural projects - master plans, skyscrapers, transportation hubs, parks and river walks - that never made it off the ground. Edited by former Los Anegeles magazine architecture critic Greg Goldin and Sam Lubell, West Coast editor of the Architect's Newspaper, and accompanied by an exhibition at the Architecture and Design Museum, it's a lavish counter-history of the city as it might have been: a literal L.A. of the mind. " (David L. Ulin Los Angeles Times)

"Never Built Los Angeles" is a lavish counter-history. Greg Goldin and Sam Lubell present a compendium of more than 100 architectural projects that never got off the ground. (David L. Ulin LATIMES.COM)

Pereira & Luckman's original design for Los Angeles International Airport was a single, giant glass - domed terminal. The 1952 scheme never got off the ground. And that's a pity, said Greg Goldin and Sam Lubell, the organizers of "Never Built: Los Angeles," a show of doomed visionary architecture. Given Pereira & Luckman's local influence and the symbolic value of airports, this one " could have set the tone for public architecture afterward in L.A.," said Mr. Lubell, who is the West Coast editor of The Architect's Newspaper and who has written for The New York Times. (Julie Lasky The New York Times)

Los Anegeles is known as a place where anything is possible. But "Never Built: Los Angeles", an exhibition that opens Sunday at the A+D Museum, reveals that for all the architectural gems built in the city, there were plenty of innovative projects - buildings, master plans, transportation scemes and more - that didn't make it past the drawing board. (Brooke Hodge T: The New York Times Style Magazine)

We see visions that were never realised-- a "bicycle freeway" from 1900, monorails, and people movers. What a different city L.A. might have been, with houses of the hills rather than on the hills, and acres upon acres of parks. Some of the projects are so grandiose you might be glad they were abandoned, but they are all provocative. Seeing them together is a reminder of the power of dreams in a city where dreams can fade so easily. (Edward Lifson Metropolis Magazine)

I can't wait for this: an art book featuring more than 400 images that offer a vison of the city Los Angeles never became, in the form of nearly a century's worth of plans, designs and layouts, including the Olmstead Brothers and Bartholomew's 'Plan for the Los Angeles Region,' a 1930 re-imagining of the city as a whole. Edited by architectural journalists Sam Lubell and Greg Goldin, 'Never Built Los Angeles' is also the source of an exhibition, curated by the editors, that will open this summer at the architectureand Design Museum on Wilshire Boulevard. (David L. Ulin Los Angeles Times)

About the Author

Thom Mayne is also a professor of architecture at UCLA, and one of the founders of the avant-garde institution SCI-Arc (Southern California Institute of Architecture) in downtown Los Angeles.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Metropolis Books; First Edition edition (July 31, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935202960
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935202967
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 12 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #605,580 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Isabelle Jolly VINE VOICE on August 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a great book for those of you who are interested in history, architecture, imagination, transit, parks, amusement piers, theaters, and the plans for them. The book is divided into sections for each of the areas. Some of the ideas are old, some are quite recent. Both are fascinating as it makes a reader wonder what LA would be like today if some of them had been accomplished. Many of designers are well known.

I live just out of LA, so I know the areas discussed in the book, and can imagine the results if the great ideas hadn't been squashed for one reason or another.

Each item has one or more pictures, and a description of what was planned. Some of the plans are faded, but most of the original drawings can be studied.

There is a small biography in the back of the book.

It is printed on heavy slick paper without a dust jacket. The picture on the jacket is from an idea for LAX which turned out to be impossible to handle.

The book is about 9 by 12 inches, and weighs about 4 lbs. It is something you want to sit at a table to read. I recommend it highly.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Never Built Los Angeles" is a beautiful walk down L.A.'s boulevard of broken dreams. Graphic layout is excellent and the short, pungent essays are good reads. The authors don't pull punches. Not every scheme for Los Angeles deserved to be built, but many did. I came away with a fresh contempt for blinkered bankers and myopic planners.

On the downside, a book this big needs a full table of contents up front, and really needs an index. The lack of an index is frustrating if you're interested in individual architects, which I was. I also would have liked to see photos of some of the atrocities and banalities that were built instead of the visions. They're described in the book but not shown, no doubt because that would have increased the size of an already weighty volume. Maybe a gallery could be posted on a web site or added in an e-book.
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Format: Hardcover
Hands down one of the best books on Los Angeles architecture. The research done for this book is staggering, and the writing and layout are wonderful. I follow modern architecture closely, but there were dozens of projects in this book that I had never heard of. The pictures are large enough to enjoy the detail, and the authors included multiple pictures for each project. Incredibly informative and beautifully presented. I really don't have anything bad to say -- and can't wait to see the exhibit at A+D Museum.
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This book accompanied an exhibition that was held at the A+D Architecture and Design Museum. After reading about plans for the exhibition in the LA Times, I contributed to the Kickstarter campaign that helped fund it. It was an interesting exhibition, although constrained by the size of the museum. This book provides a more expansive treatment of the topic, although without the models and large format plans of the exhibition. So there is something lost and something gained.

The theme is projects that were proposed for Los Angles, but never built. Some of the lost opportunities seem like real losses. Some are more neutral in impact. Some were never realistic. And a few seem better never built. (Different readers will bin the projects somewhat differently, I'm sure.)

One annoyance is the typewriterish font. I understand the aesthetic reasons for choosing it, but I find it neither pleasing nor easy to read.

While this is not a perfect book, it is a great resource for lovers of LA-area architecture. There are many books that cover what was built, and what has been lost. This book shows us what might have been built.
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Great book on unrealized architecture in Los Angeles I'm aware of only other book that deals with unrealized projects to this extent.
That book is Unbuilt America. I wish that books would be done on new York and Chicago. Stanley Tigermann did a book of the Tribune Tower Competition in the 1920s but it is limited to only the unrealized projects for that building . Robert Stern covers some
some unrealized skyscrapers in his series of books on the history of New York architecture. Never built Los Angeles covers projects from the practical to the never could be built.in any practical sense. This book is for anyone interested in unrealized architecture.
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Format: Hardcover
Greg Goldin and Sam Lubell begin by treating LA as an architect’s paradise. For every decade, and innovative architect shows up, adds style to the city, and move on. Frank Lloyd Wright, Rudolph Schindler, Frank Gehry, they all made their mark on the city. The problem is, the greatest works of architecture were funded for private buildings, not public ones. There’s also the issue of what happens when the architects move on.

Some of the designs in this collection are practical, like Richard Neutra’s “Rush City” from the 1920’s. The glass-box style seems less like fantasy nowadays, because more people are opting to live in small apartments near the place where they work. Others, like A.C. Martin’s Egyptian Swim Club, are beautiful, but costly. By the 1950’s, you had practical ideas for building, but the massive scale would hit road blocks. Take the Bunker Hill project, for instance; it was a sound plan, with regard to transportation and pedestrian safety, similar to London’s Barbican. Bunker Hill would have residential buildings surrounding parkland, and the roads would be tunnels underneath. The problem was, it would require demolition of whole residential blocks. You’re unlikely to get approval for that. It may have worked in New York City, with Lincoln Center and Stuyvesant Town, but not in Los Angeles. The city had no Robert Moses to bully politicians into bulldozing the neighborhoods.

One of the most ironic projects in the book is the Dobbins Cycleway, built in 1900 and named after the mayor of Pasadena. It was a massive elevated roadway, made of wood from Oregon, and designed to connect residential and leisure areas. There was even a bike-sharing program, much like today’s Citibike, where you could rent a bike at one end and drop it off at another.
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