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10 Buildings Never Constructed That Would Have Completely Changed Their Cities

OMG December 5, 2016 By Vincent

Mention almost any big city around the world and it will conjure up distinctive images of a skyline unique to that location with specific iconic buildings or landmarks being the first structures that come to mind. For example, say New York and people picture the Statue of Liberty and the Chrysler Building. Say London and people have pictures of the Houses of Parliament and the Shard flash into their mind.

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However, the faces of these cities could have been unaccountably different had planners and architects got their way or should different funding have been available. Here we look at 10 spectacular buildings that were never built but would have changed the world as we know it.


10. Hotel Attraction - New York CityUSA

If this building was ever erected, it would have been the tallest in New York at the time coming in at 360 meters / 1181 ft tall. Designed by the legendary Catalonian architect Antoni Gaudi, it is probably best that this building was never begun as his most iconic piece, the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain, remains under construction despite being started in 1882.

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Little is known about the Hotel Attraction and why it was conceived but it is thought it was probably too tall for the technology of the time to build it, given it was designed in 1908, and it wasn't until 1956 that it came to light that these plans even existed. When the Ground Zero project began, it was suggested that these plans could be used again but it went in a different direction.


9. The Illinois - Chicago, USA

A mile high (1,609 meters/5,280 feet)  skyscraper designed by the iconic American architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1956. Lloyd Wright thought that it was perfectly possible to complete the project even given the time it was designed in but several practical considerations made it an impractical building to go through with.

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For one thing, the space needed to service the improbably long elevators would have taken up the first few floors of the building thus defeating the point of it being so high and taking up 528 stories, with a gross area of 18.46 million square feet.


8. The Cloud - Liverpool, England

Designed in 2002 to compliment the three historical buildings that sit on the pier front of Liverpool this project would have sat adjacent to these 'Three Graces' and so was dubbed the 'Fourth Grace'. The project actually went exceedingly well and was designed for office space, a 107-room hotel and 50,000 sq ft of community facilities, including a bar, restaurant and viewing gallery.

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It never got to the building stage though due to spiraling costs and so it was canceled just two years later in 2004.


7. London's Pyramids - London, England

In a rather macabre idea to deal with London's rapidly growing population, and thus rapidly growing amount of deceased, an enormous pyramid-shaped mausoleum, on Primrose Hill, capable of interring over 5 million bodies was proposed in what would have been a house of the dead so large it would have punctured the sky.The idea of architect Thomas Wilson never went ahead and so the residents of London were spared the dead looming over them when seven new, more traditional and leafy, cemeteries were built around the city.

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He may have been influenced by an earlier idea to have a pyramid war memorial in London that was proposed on the now world famous Trafalgar Square in the early 19th century. Each tier of the pyramid would symbolize one year of the Napoleonic Wars making it 110 meters tall but it never got past the public exhibition stage.


6. Ville Contemporaine - Paris, France

For many years, French authorities had been struggling to deal with the squalor found in the ever growing Parisian slums and so French-Swiss architect Le Corbusier came up with his modern town setting in 1922 that he thought may solve the problem. A collection of sixty-storey high-rise towers made of steel and covered in glass that would house  both offices and apartments were the crux of his idea.

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It then spanned out into a town with purpose-built transport hubs and links. Given the relatively poor success of other purpose-built towns in Europe (look up Milton Keynes or Stevenage in the UK) it was perhaps best that this never came to fruition.


5. Tatlin's Tower - St. Petersburg, Russia

A massive tower built with a twin helix of steel and a rotating cube at the base where lectures, conferences and legislative meetings would have been held, it had a number of ingenious mechanical contraptions to transport visitors around its 400 m/1312ft  structure that would have dwarfed the Eiffel Tower.

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Supposed to be a towering monument of modernity, it was designed in 1917, the year Russia withdrew from WWI and was plunged into their own revolution, hence why plans were put on hold.


4. Shimizu Mega-City Pyramid - Tokyo, Japan

A giant glass pyramid that would have built in Tokyo bay, it was to be made up of 55 smaller pyramids that would have been stacked five high with each of these smaller pyramids being the size of the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas which would have made it 12 times higher than the Great Pyramid of Giza and the largest man-made structure on Earth.

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A specifically futuristic idea to house 750,000 people, it relies on the availability of super-strong lightweight materials that, although exist in some form or another, are currently unavailable due to various factors including cost or impracticality.


3. The Ultima Tower - San Francisco, USA

Another design that had futuristic implication rather than current day, practical ones, it was shaped based on the African Termite's nest and would have been two miles high which would have been 500 stories housing 1 million people. Architect Eugene Tsui came up with the idea after studying the compact urban area of San Francisco.

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Because of its height and large energy needs, the idea was that the building would utilize atmospheric energy conversion by converting the difference in atmospheric pressure at the top and bottom of the structure into electrical power.


2. Palace of The Soviets - Moscow, Russia

Designed to showcase the power of the Soviet Union, this would have become the world's tallest building had it ever been completed. An international competition to come up with the design was launched and in 1933 it was Boris Iofan’s concept, that included the first leader of the revolution Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, atop the building.

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Construction actually began on this building in 1937 on the site of the demolished Cathedral of Christ the Saviour but when Nazi Germany invaded Russia during WWII, construction was halted and in 1942 its steel frame was disassembled for use in fortifications and bridges. After the war, construction was set aside as parts of the country were to be rebuilt.After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Cathedral was rebuilt on its original site between 1995 - 2000.


1. The Volkshalle - Berlin, Germany

Planned in 1930 by Adolf Hitler and his architect Albert Speer , this hall was to be the largest dome in the world ad would hold magnificent significance in its show of Nazi power and Germany's standing in the world. It would have been filled with Nazi symbolism and held massive rallies and exhibitions.

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Due to the outbreak of WWII, it never went ahead but it was part of Hitler's plans to make Berlin the most beautiful city in the world and the center of his empire.The podium shaped like the Nazi eagle was designed so that, from a distance, the shadows cast upon it at certain times of the day would represent the facial features (mustache and hairline) of Hitler.


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