Duck Duck Book

55 – unbuilt america
07.20.2008, 12:03 am
Filed under: art & entertainment

Unbuilt America : forgotten architecture in the United States from Thomas Jefferson to the space age : a book / by Alison Sky and Michelle Stone ; introd. by George R. Collins.
New York : McGraw-Hill, c1976.
[MCL call number: 720.973 S629u; one copy, no holds; one copy reference only at Central Library]

Architects are planners — they are not traditionally responsible for doing the work of organizing and carrying out construction of their designs. In the course of their training and professional lives, most architects have designed buildings, monuments, or even whole cities that have never been built. Unbuilt America collects more than 200 designs that remain in the idea stage, each with illustrations and a description written by the architect, a contemporary critic, or a later historian.

The book’s contents are heavy with unbuilt creations of the 1960s and 1970s, for example: General Electric’s undersea community Bottom-Fix (page 100), Bruce Goff’s design for a Cowboy Hall of Fame shaped like a pile of horseshoes around a stake (page 106-107), James Lambeth’s hillside passive-solar village (page 158), Claes Oldenburg’s Design for a Tunnel Entrance in the Shape of a Nose (page 196), and several fascinating designs for structures celebrating the United States bicentennial (pages 248-261). But older unrealized plans are included too, notably Jacques J. B. Benedict’s Summer Capitol for President Wilson (pages 42-43), Frank Hemle and Harvey Wiley Corbett’s Restoration of King Solomon’s Temple and Citadel (pages 128-131), and Robert Stacy-Judd’s plans for cityscapes based on ancient Mayan architecture (235-237). All in all, it is an intriguing orientation to a series of curious and beautiful buildings and city plans.


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