Broadway Arcade Railway, 1884, New York Transit Museum, via Wikimedia Commons
Post-Civil War, pre-subway New York City had–surprise–a traffic problem. The number of horse cars and stages that clogged the streets was growing at an alarming rate. Among the proposed solutions was a railway that would be built beneath Broadway, branching out to the east and west at 23rd Street all the way up to the northern tip of Manhattan. The idea was gaining political support, but not everyone was onboard with the idea.
So what happened?
For many, Frank Lloyd Wright is considered the archetype of his profession; he was brash and unapologetic about his ideas, he experimented and tested the limits of materiality and construction, and he was never afraid to put clients in their place when they were wrong. It was this unwavering confidence paired with a brilliant creative mind that made him one of the greatest American architects to ever live. And one of the most influential.
This week Wright would have turned 150 years old, so to celebrate his birthday and his importance to the practice of modern architecture, we’re paying tribute to the architect’s built, destroyed, and never-constructed New York works. Amazingly, of the more than 500 structures credited with his name, he can only claim one in Manhattan.
Here’s our tribute to the great American architect
While we all love to ogle the latest and greatest rendering reveals, it’s a shame how quickly we forget about the incredible architecture that could have risen once their plans get scrapped. To give a small consolation to the architects who spent countless hours and sleepless nights scribbling skyscrapers with the hope of transforming the built landscape, Rubberbond has created a nifty infographic showing 25 ambitious projects that today, for better or worse, only live on in drawings. From a pyramid-shaped mausoleum in London designed to hold five million corpses to a Sagrada Familia-like hotel Gaudí fashioned for NYC to a giant Bucky dome that could have covered Manhattan, have a look at all the lost designs ahead and then weigh in—was it a good idea these were dumped or would they have been great architectural additions?
See the whole thing here
Many wonder why such a prolific and famous architect as Frank Lloyd Wright didn’t have more buildings in New York City. It’s safe to say he wasn’t a huge fan of urban density, but how could one possibly create something as iconic as the Guggenheim’s spirals without getting any other work in the city? As we showed in a previous post, two Wright designs have actually been demolished. Now, we will look at the two buildings Wright intended for the New York area which were never fully realized—at least, not in Manhattan.
See the Frank Lloyd Wright designs here