Woulda Coulda Shoulda Architectural Exhibit at L.A.’s A+D Museum

See fascinating designs for unique buildings and projects that will never dot the City of Angels skyline, at the Architecture and Design Museum's 'Never Built: Los Angeles' exhibition.

Image Courtesy of B+U Architects This futuristic office building, to potentially be built on Firestone Avenue in Downey, was imagined in 2009 by B+U Architects.

Frank Lloyd Wright doing mushrooms in the Hollywood Hills? A Disneyland ride running through L.A.? If these sound like surreal futuristic visions, they are. And you can see actual plans for these projects and more at the A+D (Architecture and Design) Museum’s latest exhibition, Never Built: Los Angeles, a compendium of fascinating urban projects that never made it past the drawing board.

In words, drawings, models, videos and other media, Never Built: Los Angeles examines visionary works that had the potential to reshape Los Angeles, but for one reason or another, never became realities. 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.

Among some of the more interesting plans included in the display are Frank Lloyd Wright’s Doheny Ranch, which would have replaced the monotonous suburban housing model with a collection of unique buildings clustered in a landscape of dramatic terraces and ravines. Wright also came up with a 1947 sketch of a conceptual, mushroom-like Huntington Hartford Sports Club to be perched high in the Hollywood Hills.

Also featured in the exhibit are plans from prominent architects such as Richard Neutra, Frank Gehry, Paul Williams, Jean Nouvel and Rem Koolhaas. Their projects apparently looked good on paper but never got a green light. If only city planners would have paid more heed to the designers of an elevated train and subway system back in the 1920s — traffic might not be in the mess it is today.

But it’s probably a good thing plans for a Causeway through Santa Monica Bay, drawn up in 1964, were never embraced. Sure, it might be nice to drive on a bridge over the ocean from SaMo to Malibu without having to hassle the traffic on PCH, but would it be worth destroying the ocean view and the environment?

Never Built: Los Angeles was curated by Sam Lubell and Greg Goldin, and designed by Clive Wilkinson Architects. It runs July 28 through September 29, 2013. Hours are Tuesday to Friday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday to Sunday 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., and the museum is closed on Mondays. See aplusd.org for more information.

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