Ker Robertson, Getty Images
Ker Robertson, Getty Images

5 Scrapped Designs for the World's Most Famous Buildings

Ker Robertson, Getty Images
Ker Robertson, Getty Images

When an architect gets commissioned to build a skyscraper or a memorial, they’re usually not the only applicant for the job. Other teams of designers submit their own ideas for how it should look, too, but these are eventually passed over in favor of the final design. This is the case for some of the world’s most recognizable landmarks—in an alternate world, the Arc de Triomphe might have been a three-story-tall elephant statue, and the Lincoln Memorial a step pyramid.

GoCompare, a comparison site for financial services, dug into these could-have-been designs for Alternate Architecture, an illustrated collection of scrapped designs for some of the most famous structures in the world, from Chicago's Tribune Tower to the Sydney Opera House.

Click through the interactive graphic below to explore rejected designs for all five landmarks.

Paul Wegener
For Sale: The Safest House in America, Complete With Hidden Command Center
Paul Wegener
Paul Wegener

For some people, locking the front door just isn't enough to feel fully safe at home. Maybe they set up a home security system. Maybe they go out and buy a fancy smart home hub with a security camera. Or maybe they spend six years and $30 million to build a veritable fortress mansion, as one guy in Atlanta did. That house, called the Rice House and referred to as one of the safest homes in America, is now up for sale for $14.7 million.

Built by an entrepreneur who hired a security architect with a background designing Justice Department buildings (and his own bunker/house), the Rice House is billed as a "modern fortress" in the real estate listing.

For its owner, creating an impenetrable home was more of a personal challenge than a real security need, according to Bloomberg. But by its features, you'd think it was built for a Bond super-villain or a head of state, not a businessman in a wealthy Atlanta neighborhood.

A secure door with several locks
Paul Wegener

It has its own water and power supply, a 5000-square-foot command center hidden behind a waterfall, a vault, and doors capable of withstanding machine gun fire. There’s an indoor gun range, in case you need some target practice. There’s enough room in the garage for 30 cars, in case you have a few dozen Batmobiles—or you want to invite friends to hunker down with you during the apocalypse.

And since anyone who lives there might be more invested in staying safely inside the gates than going out on the weekends, the place has plenty of amenities that make it a standalone mini-community. It’s got its own art gallery, a gym, a bowling alley, a wine cellar, a home theater, and a pool. It has three kitchens and two commercial elevators, with staff quarters so the servants you inevitably need to cater to you never need to leave, either.

But wait, there’s more. If the house lacks something you want, that’s fine! Because according to the listing, “the property purposefully awaits final personalization.” In other words, for your $14.7 million, it’s not finished.

Check it out here.

The UK's Last Standing Leech House

You probably know that leeches were once used for medicinal bloodletting. But did you know that the worms lived in luxury in their own houses?

Today, only one of these leech houses remains in the UK: the Georgian Bedale Leech House in Bedale, North Yorkshire. While the medicinal use of leeches dates back 2500 years, this leech house was built in the late 18th century by an apothecary on the estate of the Beresford-Pierse family of Bedale Hall. It was in use until the early 1900s, when the use of leeches dramatically declined.

The leech houses were used to store the worms—often in special containers of moist earth—and keep them alive and fresh until they were needed by druggists or doctors. A flow of water from the Bedale Beck, the adjoining river, was directed through the building and a fireplace kept the creatures warm in the winter. Absent from that set-up: blood to keep them nourished while they waited. Leeches can survive for up to a year between meals.

Leeches were usually collected by women in bogs and marshes who would use horses or their own legs to attract the creatures and transport them in boxes or cages.

The Bedale Leech House was restored by the Bedale District Heritage Trust in 1985, then sold to a private owner in 2003.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]


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