Looking for Lost Angeles

A new exhibit seeks to document the Los Angeles that could have been, had the visionary plans of the past been executed, reports Eric Jaffe.
January 4, 2013, 12pm PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"Never Built: Los Angeles" is the name of an exhibit that is currently seeking finding on Kickstarter in the hopes of being staged this spring at Los Angeles's A+D Architecture and Design Museum. Curated by Sam Lubell (California editor at The Architect's Newspaper) and Greg Goldin (architecture critic for Los Angeles magazine), the exhibit "will include plans, renderings, and models of major public projects that might have changed the feel of Los Angeles had they ever seen the light of day." That, of course, will only happen if the fundraising plan is successful.

According to the project's Kickstarter page, the curators "have finished the research and we have the exhibition design ready. But we need YOUR help to make the show a reality! We are asking specifically for your (tax deductible!) donations to pay for the floor graphic, the cost of building museum-quality models (as well as an 11-foot-tall tower made of over 67,000 Legos), the expense of rights to borrow and mount original drawings, and the price of installing all this, and so much more, into the museum space."

Among the visionary designs and designers selected for the exhibit are a comprehensive open space plan for city developed in 1930 by Olmsted & Bartholomew, a "futuristic take" on Los Angeles International Airport by Pereira and Luckman, and Lloyd Wright's plan for an art deco Civic Center complex "reminiscent of an acropolis."

Rather than just a catalog of what might have been, "[Lubell] hopes to shift the mindset of city politicians and developers and community leaders who's knee-jerk response to public innovation is often rejection. To give Los Angeles a second chance, the exhibition includes a section of recent never-built projects that might be worth another look."

"For a place that has these amazing architects and ideas, the public spirit is — no we can't really pull this stuff off," he says. "We want to change the culture so that visionary, creative, innovative ideas in the large-scale pubic realm will once again be embraced in the city."

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Published on Friday, January 4, 2013 in The Atlantic Cities
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