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Never Built: Los Angeles at A+D Architecture & Design Museum

Never Built: Los Angeles, an upcoming exhibition at the A+D Architecture and Design Museum Los Angeles (on view from July 28 through September 29) will highlight radical projects that would have deeply changed Los Angeles—but for one reason or another never got off the ground.
Pereira and Luckman’s 1952 design for Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) called for a glass-enclosed central terminal, with a world map etched on the central column. Their original plan died because the city's Building Department found it too radical, the cost of air-conditioning would have been exorbitant and the airlines wanted their own individual terminals. Image courtesy LAX Flight Path Learning Center.

We'll offer a preview of the much-anticipated exhibition onstage at Dwell on Design on Sunday June 23 at 2 pm. Through engaging photos, drawings, and other collected ephemera, co-curator Sam Lubell, museum director Tibbie Dunbar, and designer Jenny Myers will explore what Los Angeles might have been, if only some of these pie in the sky ideas had made it past the drawing board. They'll share some of their favorite obscure discoveries, including Olmsted and Bartholomew’s groundbreaking 1930 “Plan for the Los Angeles Region,” which would have increased the amount of green space in the notoriously park-poor city several times over; the Maguire Group’s exciting 1980 plan for Grand Avenue downtown; and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Doheny Ranch, which would have replaced the monotonous suburban housing model with a collection of unique buildings clustered in a landscape of dramatic terraces and ravines. As the trio will illuminate, many of these schemes—each promoting a denser, more connected, more vibrant city—are still relevant today.

If you like what you see and hear at their Dwell on Design panel, you can see much, much more when the exhibition opens later this summer. As the museum's website puts it: "By allowing viewers to see Los Angeles in a new light, Never Built: Los Angeles examines what it is about Los Angeles that attracts some of the world’s most creative architects, yet often causes grand architectural schemes to flounder. The exhibition sets the stage for a renewed interest in visionary projects for the future of Los Angeles, challenging the city to think big again."

Click through the slideshow for a sneak peek!

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