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Gothamist

5 Amazing Projects That Were Never Built

Gothamist
Gothamist

Architects are some of the world’s best thinkers. Without new ideas, society cannot progress and evolve. They’re there to push the boundaries and test new concepts—which sometimes work.

But often, the architects' projects are cut off by monetary constraints, or by governments and planning committees who aren’t quite as progressive as they are. That means that an awful lot of innovative ideas for buildings, towns and cities fall by the wayside, left in drawers as paper plans and polystyrene models. Here are five amazing projects that were never built—examples of what could have been, rather than what was.

1. Motopia

Things Magazine

In the 1960s and '70s, Britain was buoyed by the Pilkington company's newfound ability to produce large plate glass. The company formed a new group, called the Glass Age Development Committee, to promote the use of glass as a building material. One of the committee's prized plans was Motopia, a car-based city designed by Geoffrey Alan Jellicoe. The cars, and all the roads, were to be placed on top of large glass buildings, leaving the ground for relaxation, greenery, and pedestrianized parkland. It would've been a stark contrast to today, where roads rule the ground. But ultimately, it was never built, and sketches are all that remain.

2. LAX’s giant dome

Fabrik LA

LAX already has unique architecture; its Theme Building looks like a giant spaceship rising up into the sky. But architects Pereira & Luckman’s original 1952 plans for the airport were even more outlandish. They wanted to encase the airport under a giant glass dome, with palm trees reaching up to the roof of the circular central hub building, from which the terminals would branch off.

3. Hotel Atraccion, New York

Wikimedia Commons

Edward Carlton, a hotelier, was a fan of Antoni Gaudi’s unique architectural designs. So in 1908, when Carlton wanted to build a new hotel for the superrich in Lower Manhattan, he travelled over to Spain to meet the architect and artist to commission him to design the building. The Hotel Atraccion would have been more than 1000 feet high and towered over New York, had Gaudi not abandoned the project a year later.

4. The Manhattan Dome

Gothamist

Even today, the allure of living under a protective bubble is strong—and it certainly was in 1960, when Buckminster Fuller and Shoji Sadao suggested encasing Manhattan in a 3.3km-wide dome made of shatterproof, one-way glass. Today the idea seems way too outlandish to be considered, but back in the 1960s promise and potential were freer.

5. The Green Bird, London

Skyscraper Page

The people of London narrowly escaped a blush-worthy error in judgment when the Green Bird tower was trashed in 1990. Architects Future Systems suggested building an 83-floor tower 1450 feet high in Battersea, London that would curve over the city. The only problem was, well…it had an unfortunate shape that would never have escaped endless ridicule.

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Luke Hayes, Asif Khan/Getty Images
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architecture
Vantablack Pavilion at the Winter Olympics Mimics the Darkness of Space
Luke Hayes, Asif Khan/Getty Images
Luke Hayes, Asif Khan/Getty Images

British company Surrey NanoSystems disrupted the color spectrum when it debuted Vantablack: the darkest artificial substance ever made. The material is dark enough to absorb virtually all light waves, making 3D objects look like endless black voids. It was originally designed for technology, but artists and designers have embraced the unique shade. Now, Dezeen reports that British architect Asif Khan has brought Vantablack to the Winter Olympics.

His temporary pavilion at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games in South Korea has been dubbed the darkest building on Earth. The 33-foot-tall structure has been coated with Vantablack VBx2, a version of Vantablack pigment that comes in a spray can.

The building’s sides curve inward like shadowboxes. To break up the all-consuming blackness, Khan outfitted the walls with rods. White lights at the ends of the sticks create the effect of stars scattered across an endless night sky.

Child next to wall painted to look like the night sky.
Luke Hayes, Asif Khan/Getty Images

Khan told Dezeen that the piece is meant to give “the impression of a window cut into space.” He was only able to realize this vision after contacting the scientists behind Vantablack. He told them he wanted to use the color to coat a building, something the pigment wasn’t designed for originally. Sculptor Anish Kapoor securing exclusive rights to artistic use of the color in 2016 further complicated his plans. The solution was the sprayable version: Vantablack VBx2 is structurally (and therefore legally) different from the original pigment and better suited for large-scale projects.

The pavilion was commissioned by Hyundai to promote their hydrogen fuel cell technology. The space-themed exterior is a nod to the hydrogen in stars. Inside, a white room filled with sprinklers is meant to represent the hydrogen found in water.

The area will be open to visitors during the Winter Olympics, which kick off in Pyeongchang, South Korea on Friday, February 9.

[h/t Dezeen]

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Shari Austrian
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Design
You Can Order a Stunningly Detailed LEGO Replica of Your House on Etsy
Shari Austrian
Shari Austrian

LEGO blocks can be used to construct fictional starships and works of abstract art, but there's something comforting in replicating what's familiar to you. That's the concept behind Little Brick Lane, an Etsy shop that promises to custom-build detailed LEGO models of real homes.

Designer Shari Austrian tells Apartment Therapy that the idea came to her when her family was building their real-life house. Her twin boys had recently gotten her interested in LEGO, so she decided to construct a scaled-down, blocky replica to match their new home. She enjoyed the project enough to launch a business around LEGO architecture on Etsy at the end of 2017.

Austrian bases her designs off interior and exterior photos of each house, and if they're available, architectural plans. Over eight to 10 weeks, she constructs the model using LEGO pieces she orders to match the building design perfectly, recreating both the inside and outside of the house in the utmost detail.

To request a custom LEGO abode of your own, you can reach out to Austrian through her Etsy shop, but warning: It won't come cheap. A full model will cost you at least $2500 (the exact price is based on the square footage of your home). That price covers the cost of the materials Austrian invests in each house, which can add up quick. "The average LEGO piece costs approximately 10 cents," she tells Mental Floss, and her models are made up of tens of thousands of pieces. But if you're looking for something slightly cheaper, she also offers exterior-only models for $1500 and up.

For your money, you can be confident that Austrian won't skimp on any details. As you can see in the images below, every feature of your house—from the appliances in your kitchen to the flowers in your yard—will be immortalized in carefully chosen plastic bricks.

A bedroom made of LEGO

A kitchen model made of LEGO

The exterior of a house made of LEGO

[h/t Apartment Therapy]

All images courtesy of Shari Austrian.

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