A Los Angeles that might have been

Grand ideas for a Los Angeles that never came to fruition,  whether for lack of money, support, or the occasional morbid reason, are numerous. I lucked out in viewing the ‘Never Built Los Angeles‘ exhibit at the A + D Museum on Wilshire (across from LACMA) during its final showing last week.

I’d never been to the A + D Museum before, and was immediately enthralled by the L.A. street map covering most of the floor. Naturally, I set off in search of my son’s apartment location! Once pinpointed, it was on to the building models, blueprints, and power point.

Learning that Disneyland was originally planned for Burbank was fascinating. Poor Burbank! I bet they’d love all those tax dollars today. And discovering that, in 1950 where Dodger Stadium now stands, as the A + D notecard states, “the most controversial unrealized project of twenty-four 13-story towers and 163 two-story garden apartments would be replacing an impoverished Mexican-American village” had been proposed. Apparently the plan was killed due to an anti-public-housing campaign, with the land later sold to the Dodgers for their new Los Angeles stadium. Dodgers fans can thank those early anti-building campaigners for their Blue home. Also interesting was that, in 1966, an architecture firm planned to build a snow ski facility on the hills above Culver City. Really? Ski slopes in the L.A. basin?!! Hmmmm, maybe the summers weren’t as hot back then??

In the mid 1960s, a very grand idea called ‘Skylots’ was dreamed up by an architect from Romania, Harlan Georgescu. According to the A + D notecard, his brain-storm solution for urban sprawl was to build 385 “vertical villages” along the 405 freeway all the way to Laguna, with concrete slabs suspended, bridge-like, from steel cables. He never saw his dream come into being, because he was murdered in 1977. Oh dear.

Below are a few pictures from the exhibit. If you’re interested and would like more information, there’s a book out by the same name, ‘Never Built Los Angeles’, by Sam Lubell and Greg Goldin. ~SueBee (pics by SueBee)

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Categories: Museums, Out 'n About, Photography


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2 Comments on “A Los Angeles that might have been”

  1. Nov 03, 2013 at 2:20 am #

    Fascinating what-could’ve-been stories! Too bad the exhibit is for limited time only. 😦 I would have jetted there to see it myself. Well, thanks for the share.

    • Nov 03, 2013 at 6:58 am #

      Yeah, wish I’d known about it sooner – I wasn’t really even aware of the museum. It’s small, but has some great rotating exhibits.~SueBee

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