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.

Arend Kuester, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Qatar National Library's Panorama-Style Bookshelves Offer Guests Stunning Views
Arend Kuester, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Arend Kuester, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The newly opened Qatar National Library in the capital city of Doha contains more than 1 million books, some of which date back to the 15th century. Co.Design reports that the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) designed the building so that the texts under its roof are the star attraction.

When guests walk into the library, they're given an eyeful of its collections. The shelves are arranged stadium-style, making it easy to appreciate the sheer number of volumes in the institution's inventory from any spot in the room. Not only is the design photogenic, it's also practical: The shelves, which were built from the same white marble as the floors, are integrated into the building's infrastructure, providing artificial lighting, ventilation, and a book-return system to visitors. The multi-leveled arrangement also gives guests more space to read, browse, and socialize.

"With Qatar National Library, we wanted to express the vitality of the book by creating a design that brings study, research, collaboration, and interaction within the collection itself," OMA writes on its website. "The library is conceived as a single room which houses both people and books."

While most books are on full display, OMA chose a different route for the institution's Heritage Library, which contains many rare, centuries-old texts on Arab-Islamic history. This collection is housed in a sunken space 20 feet below ground level, with beige stone features that stand out from the white marble used elsewhere. Guests need to use a separate entrance to access it, but they can look down at the collection from the ground floor above.

If Qatar is too far of a trip, there are plenty of libraries in the U.S. that are worth a visit. Check out these panoramas of the most stunning examples.

Qatar library.

Qatar library.

Qatar library.

[h/t Co.Design]

All images: Arend Kuester, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

After Four Months, a Frank Lloyd Wright House in Glencoe, Illinois Goes Back on the Market

Most architecture nerds would be thrilled to live in an original Frank Lloyd Wright house, and occasionally, they get their chance—as long as they’re willing to pay a few million dollars. As of late 2017, there were Frank Lloyd Wright homes for sale in New York, Minnesota, Ohio, Connecticut, and elsewhere for $1 million dollars or more (in some cases, way more). Sometimes, you can find a deal, though, like the $445,000 Usonian home that went on the market in Michigan in 2016.

Sadly, as Curbed reports, a newly for-sale Wright house in Glencoe, Illinois is not such a deal anymore. Only three months after its $752,000 sale, the 1914 Kier House in suburban Chicago has been renovated and is back on the market for $837,500.

Many Wright homes need a little love after decades of use. For one thing, the architect is somewhat notorious for building leaky roofs. Their small kitchens and shag carpeting are no longer quite so desirable, either.

But for many buyers and architects, restoring a Wright home is a labor of love, one that often takes several years and aims to respect the original designer’s genius while bringing the house up to modern standards. (For some of the historic homes, permanent easements also prohibit most exterior alterations, further limiting what a remodel can involve.)

The Prairie School-style house, though it has Honorary Landmark status, isn’t entirely original to Wright. It has a more modern kitchen, a new family room, and updated bathrooms (with a steam shower!). Previous owner Susan Cowen, who owned the house for a number of years and spent an undisclosed amount on refurbishing it, sold the residence in January to a pair of documentary filmmakers, according to Patch. The sale, which included a significant price drop, only took a few months. They, in turn, made a number of improvements. The owners fixed up the chimneys, boiler, and furnace, added a limestone bar separating the kitchen and dining room, and raised part of the ceiling above the stairs.

Now, four months later, it’s on sale again, and, thanks to the upgrades, a little pricier. The latest sellers may find, though, that not every Wright sale goes as quickly as their purchase. The architect’s homes are highly prized, but also known to be very difficult to sell, sometimes languishing on the market for years before finding a buyer.

[h/t Curbed]


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