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Never Built Los Angeles Hardcover – July 31, 2013
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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)
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Bought this book for my cousin as a gift. He's a city planner in LA and he absolutely loved this book. Covers great architects and offers great images and blueprints. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Emgudino
NOTE: This review originally appeared on episode 168 of Communicore Weekly
George: Sometimes a book comes along and unexpectedly blows your mind. Read more
This purchase was a gift which was exactly as described and arrived quickly. The content is quite interesting and would make a great gift for any Los Angelean or those fascinated... Read morePublished 16 months ago by M. Vinch
Bought it for my hubby as Xmas gift and he loves it. Many projects are inspiring. The quality of the book is good as well.Published on January 13, 2014 by Ying Hao
Interesting book especially if you grew up in Los Angeles. Countless missed opportunities to make this a great city. nice coffee table book too.Published on January 11, 2014 by Norenfolks
A fascinating look at Los Angeles history, but not at all well displayed in print. Print layout is dense and not pleasant to read. Read morePublished on January 4, 2014 by Judy R.
To snag a quote from Ursiform
"This book accompanied an exhibition that was held at the A+D Architecture and Design Museum. Read more
As far as the information contained in the book, it would rate more stars, but in terms of layout, design and type fonts, it could use a lot of improvement. Read morePublished on November 29, 2013 by Marilyn Blanck