Alt-Architecture: 18 Outlandish Unbuilt Monuments Around the World

Somewhere out there, there is an alternate universe where the Chrysler Building was topped with a dome and the Tribune Tower was a single enormous doric column. And you thought some of today’s designs were flamboyant!

Alex Garkavenko Alex Garkavenko

When whole cities are defined by the silhouette of a folly (Paris and New York, to name a few), it is easy to forget that there was a time before these forms were even in existence. Projects of that scale were often parts of competitions, after all, where many ideas and iterations were thrown out in order to get to the final shape. Somewhere out there, there is an alternate universe where the Chrysler Building was topped with a dome, the Tribune Tower was a single enormous doric column, and the Arc de Triomphe was a giant elephant (!). And you thought some of today’s designs were flamboyant!

Iterations of the Chrysler Building,
New York, New York, USA

via oobject.

Tribune Tower Alternatives
Chicago, Illinois

Column by Adolf Loos, and Arrowhead by Bruno Taut, Walter Günther and Kurz Schutz. Via io9.

Lincoln Memorial
Washington D.C., USA

All three of these proposals were made by John Russell Pope and took inspiration from the architectural forms of foreign lands… including the ziggurat, circular ziggurat and pyramid (respectively).

Washington Monument
Washington D.C., USA

By Peter Forces, 1837.

Tower Bridge Proposals
London, UK

By F. J. Palmer, 1877

Design for a “duplex bridge” by Frederick Barnett that allowed for “uninterrupted continuity of vehicular and general traffic.”

By Sir Joseph Bazalgette, 1878

By Horace Jones

Glass-covered bridge by W.F.C. Holden, 1943

Trafalgar Square
London, UK

300-foot pyramid proposal, 1815.

Arc de Triomphe
Paris, France

Proposal for an inhabitable elephant fountain for the top of Champs Elysees, made in 1758. A similar one was then proposed to stand in the Place de la Bastille (but that one too was never made in its complete state).

Sydney Opera House
Sydney, Australia

Design by Eugene Goossen. Watercolor by Bill Constable.

By Anatol Kagan

By Joseph Marzella

Great Tower of London, Watkin’s Tower
London, UK

The British were so obsessed with The Eiffel Tower from the 1889 World’s Fair that the next year they held a competition to build their very own one in London. The winning design was by Stewart, MacLaren and Dunn, and although building started 1891, it was abruptly stopped 1894 and subsequently demolished in 1907.

Monument to Democracy
San Pedro, California, USA

In 1954, LA County Supervisor John Anson Ford pushed to build the Pacific Ocean’s “Statue of Liberty.” Although never built, this design by Millard Sheets was to be 480 feet tall, featuring three figures holding a bronze globe of 125 feet in diameter. Via Adam Arenson

Mothers Memorial
Washington D.C., USA

By Joseph Geddes, 1925: “To the mother genius raised in imperishable stone, beautified by art and sculpture, to proclaim the debt each mortal owes to the woman who risked her own life to give life.” We would love to know what Freud would have to say about this. Via Materialist Papers.

Tatlin’s Tower (Monument to the Third International)
St. Petersburg, Russia

This headquarters of the Comintern was meant to have been built in 1919-20 by constructivist Vladimir Tatlin after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. The finished structure would have dwarfed the Eiffel Tower, and despite never having been built, it still an managed to play an influential part in the history of architectural constructivism. Images via 4rts and verysmallkitchen.

BONUS: Noguchi’s Monument To The Plough
Set in the Midwest Prairie on land affected by wheat crop curtailment program. By Isamu Noguchi, 1933.

“The steel plow, Dr. Rumley told me, had been devised through correspondence between Franklin and Jefferson, which had then made possible the opening up of the western plains. My model indicated my wish to belong to America, to its vast horizons of earth.” — Isamu Noguchi, A Sculptor’s World, 1968.

via io9 and oobject

Want to know more about some of the world’s most iconic structures? Read about (and see) some of the most monumental construction in history!

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