5 Rejected Designs for the Lincoln Memorial

Can you imagine Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech taking place in front of a pyramid? Or what the $5 bill would look like with a ziggurat on the back? The Lincoln Memorial as we know it has been an iconic monument for nearly a century; it was dedicated by Chief Justice William Howard Taft on May 30, 1922. But the memorial committee had a host of other designs to choose from—and the National Mall would have looked much different if one of them had made the cut.

Congress approved funding for a structure honoring Lincoln in 1911, and gave the Lincoln Memorial Commission a budget of $2 million—an incredible sum that had never been given for a national memorial before. Many architects were eager to do work at that scale, but it ultimately came down to two: John Russell Pope and Henry Bacon. While Bacon's offerings were largely of the neoclassical variety, Pope submitted a number of sketches inspired by monuments and memorials from other cultures, from classic Greek to ancient Mesopotamia.

This Parthenon-inspired structure would have been located at Meridian Hill instead of the National Mall. At 250 feet tall, it would have bested Capitol Hill by about 150 feet.

A colossal ziggurat monument, similar to styles from ancient Mesopotamia, Pope's other proposed structure would have featured four statues at the base, with a massive bronze statue of Lincoln standing guard from the top.

An pyramid with porticoes on each side, this design from Pope would have reflected the Egyptian-inspired obelisk of the Washington Monument.

Another pyramid from Pope, this one a Mayan-style tribute, would have included an eternal flame burning at the peak.

Pope's final design, an open rotunda that would have been 320 feet in diameter, catered to the classical, Greek-inspired route that the Lincoln Memorial committee seemed to favor. But in the end, they deemed Pope's efforts too ostentatious and opted for one of Bacon's versions:

Though the winning design submitted by Bacon was altered, you can see how elements of this design were used in the final result—a neoclassical temple with a statue of Lincoln and engravings of some of his most famous speeches.

Though Pope was no doubt disappointed that one of his designs wasn't chosen for the Lincoln Memorial, he secured his own spot in architectural history when he won the Jefferson Memorial job in 1935.

Morfeus Arkitekter. Photo: Silja Lena Løken / Statens vegvesen
Norway Opens Another Spectacular Roadside Bathroom
Morfeus Arkitekter. Photo: Silja Lena Løken / Statens vegvesen
Morfeus Arkitekter. Photo: Silja Lena Løken / Statens vegvesen

Norway’s National Tourist Routes will change how you think about rest stops. As part of a decades-long program, the Norwegian government has been hiring architects and designers to create beautiful roadside lookouts, bathrooms, and other amenities for travelers along 18 scenic highways throughout the country. One of the latest of the projects unveiled, spotted by Dezeen, is a glitzy restroom located on the Arctic island of Andøya in northern Norway.

The facility, designed by the Oslo-based Morfeus Arkitekter, is located near a rock formation called Bukkekjerka, once used as a sacrificial site by the indigenous Sami people. The angular concrete and steel structure is designed to fit in with the jagged mountains that surround it.

The mirrored exterior wall of the bathroom serves a dual purpose. On the one hand, it reflects the scenery around the building, helping it blend into the landscape. But it also has a hidden feature. It’s a one-way mirror, allowing those inside the restroom to have a private view out over the ocean or back into the mountains while they pee.

The newly landscaped rest area near the bathroom will serve as an event space in the future. The Bukkekjerka site is already home to an annual open-air church service, and with the new construction, the space will also be used for weddings and other events. Because this is the Arctic Circle, though, the restroom is only open in the late spring and summer, closing from October to May. Check it out in the photos below.

A bathroom nestled in a hilly landscape
Morfeus Arkitekter. Photo: Hugo Fagermo / Statens vegvesen

The mirrored facade of a rest stop reflects concrete steps leading down a pathway.
Morfeus Arkitekter. Photo: Hugo Fagermo / Statens vegvesen

A person stands outside the bathroom's reflective wall.
Morfeus Arkitekter. Photo: Hugo Fagermo / Statens vegvesen

A wide view of a rest stop at the base of a coastal mountain
Morfeus Arkitekter. Photo: Trine Kanter Zerwekh / Statens vegvesen

[h/t Dezeen]

Norway's New Hotel in the Arctic Circle Will Produce More Energy Than It Uses

A new hotel coming to Norway’s section of the Arctic Circle will be more than just a place to stay for a stunning fjord view. The Svart hotel, which is being billed as the world’s first "energy-positive" hotel, is designed to “set a new standard in sustainable travel,” according to Robb Report.

Built by a tourism company called Arctic Adventure Norway and designed by Snøhetta, an international architecture firm headquartered in Oslo, it’s one of the first buildings created according to the standards of Powerhouse, a coalition of firms (including Snøhetta) devoted to putting up buildings that will produce more power over the course of 60 years than they take to build, run, and eventually demolish. It will be located on a fjord at the base of Svartisen, one of the largest glaciers on Norway’s mainland and part of Saltfjellet-Svartisen National Park.

A hotel stretches out above the water of a fjord.

The design of the hotel is geared toward making the facility as energy-efficient as possible. The architects mapped how the Sun shines through the mountains throughout the year to come up with the circular structure. When the Sun is high in the winter, the terraces outside the rooms provide shadows that reduce the need for air conditioning, while the windows are angled to catch the low winter Sun, keeping the building warm during cold Arctic winters. In total, it is expected to use 85 percent less energy than a traditional hotel.

The sun reflects off the roof of a hotel at the base of a glacier on a sunny day.

Svart will also produce its own energy through rooftop solar panels, though it won’t have excess energy on hand year-round. Since it’s located in the Arctic Circle, the hotel will have an abundance of sunlight during the summer, at which point it will sell its excess energy to the local electricity grid. In the winter, when it’s too dark for solar energy production, the hotel will buy energy back from the grid. Over the course of the year, it will still produce more energy than it uses, and over time, it will eventually produce enough excess energy to offset the energy that was used to build the structure (including the creation of the building materials).

“Building in such a precious environment comes with some clear obligations in terms of preserving the natural beauty and the fauna and flora of the site,” Snøhetta co-founder Kjetil Trædal Thorsen explains in the firm’s description of the design. “Building an energy-positive and low-impact hotel is an essential factor to create a sustainable tourist destination respecting the unique features” of the area.

Svart is set to open in 2021.

[h/t Robb Report]


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