Never Built: Los Angeles explored the “what if” Los Angeles. A thorough compendium of projects that only saw the drawing board, the exhibition asked: Why is Los Angeles a hotbed of great architects, yet so lacking in urban innovation?
Co-curated by Sam Lubell and Greg Goldin and designed by Clive Wilkinson Architects, the show looked at visionary works that had the greatest potential to reshape the city, from buildings to master plans, parks to follies and transportation proposals, any of which could have transformed both the physical reality and the collective perception of the metropolis. The stories surrounding these projects shed light on a reluctant city whose institutions and infrastructure have often undermined inventive, challenging urban schemes.
Many of these schemes—promoting a denser, more vibrant city—still have relevance today, and many could inspire future projects. The projects beg the question: Why were they never built?
The show contained dozens of illustrations exploring the visceral (and sometimes misleading) power of architectural ideas conveyed through renderings, blueprints, models, and the lost art of hand drawing. Through these images and accompanying narratives, the city is interpreted in a new light, with discarded projects understood as art. Never Built probed these schemes, setting the stage for a renewed interest in visionary projects in Los Angeles.