Love ‘Never Built?’ Here’s a Recap of KCRW’s Coverage on the Show

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In case you missed it, here’s a recap on all of KCRW’s Never Built coverage:

Since its opening on July 27th at the A+D Museum, Never Built has awed its audiences with an array of civic proposals for LA, many by notable architects, that one way or another didn’t quite make the cut. KCRW’s Matt Holzman produced a four part series that took an in-depth look at some of the more ambitious plans that never came to fruition. KCRW’s Steve Chiotakis interviewed the curators of exhibit, Sam Lubell and Greg Goldin, to find out more about their motivations in realizing the unrealized, and Frances Anderton spoke with Sam Lubell back in February about how effort to realize the exhibit — with installation designed by Clive Wilkinson — became a community project in itself.

The Santa Monica Causeway

save the pier
Al’s Kitchen Menu and Save the Pier Buttons. (Photo from “Santa Monica Pier: A Century on the Last Pleasure Pier” by James Harris) (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

In the late-’60’s, Santa Monica was literally growing up.  In 1971, the city’s first real high-rise went up. That white, 21-story office building that still overlooks the ocean where Wilshire meets the sea. And then there was The Island: A proposed man-made, 35-acre island, right off the beach, connected to the mainland by a sinuous automobile causeway.

But building the island would mean destroying the Santa Monica Pier and the fight to save the beloved pier would transform Santa Monica.

DisneySea in Long Beach

An Artist’s rendering of Port Disney (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

If you lived in Long Beach in the late 80′s, you heard a lot about Port Disney – a gigantic development slated for the downtown waterfront. The idea wasn’t the brain child of a Disney’s keen strategic planners – it sprang from the imagination of a few creative people who loved the idea of a theme park centered around the sea. It would have been a boon to the financially uncertain city… but after three years and $10 million in development, maybe it was better that Disney didn’t come to town. Here’s the story behind DisneySea. (For more pictures, check out this Progress City post or go to the A&D exhibit, of course.)

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Never Built Projects

Lloyd Wright: Plans for a never built Los Angeles Civic Center (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

Even though Wright lived and worked in LA, neither he –  nor his son Lloyd for that matter – ever really created anything quite as memorable here. That’s especially surprising considering how wide open the city was when Wright arrived.

Frank Lloyd Wright came to Los Angeles in the 1920′s, and he and his son designed some wildly imaginative schemes for our city. But even with rich and powerful patrons like Aline Barnsdall and Huntington Hartford, none were ever built. What stopped the man regarded as the world’s greatest modern architect from building a Johnson Wax or Guggenheim in our backyard?

Public Housing in Chavez Ravine

Chavez Ravine
Elysian Park plan. Courtesy of Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

What was almost built in Chavez Ravine near downtown? A lot of people think that the community of people who lived there were kicked off their land to build Dodger Stadium. The true story is that they were moved out to build a massive, ultra-modern public housing project designed by one of the superstars of 20th century architecture, Richard Neutra. The plan was to house 3,300 families in a sprawling complex of 24, 13-story towers and 163 two-story garden apartments. Below, why the project was never actually built, and a bit of nostalgia for what might have been.

Interview with the Curators

KCRW’s Steve Chiotakis interviewed the curators Sam Lubell and Greg Goldin about some of the exhibit’s highlights.

Frances Anderton Interview with Sam Lubell from February

Frances spoke to Sam Lubell, co-curator, about what there is to see at Never Built, and how the making of the show became a public project in itself.  They talked about the Kickstarter that helped fund the show, the buzz that surrounded it months before its opening, and how Angelenos love to ask why some ambitious plans for Los Angeles were rejected.