According to architectural curator Lukas Feireiss, “The future of any building is its ruin.” It doesn’t matter if it's the Colosseum, the amphitheater at Leptis Magna, or Detroit’s Michigan Central Railroad Station, decline and fall is inevitable. In time, all architecture succumbs to the forces of nature; however, some buildings and structures become must-see tourist attractions, while others degenerate and decay, their plundered interiors and boarded up remains nothing but symbols of forgotten prosperity.
Architecture serves a practical, utilitarian purpose, but it can also have a more quixotic aim. There are countless examples of architecture of the imagination, speculative blueprints of upside down apartments, office buildings that split like M.C. Escher zippers in midair, and skyscrapers made of clouds. In other words, architects like to build buildings that don’t exist. Whether budget cuts were to blame, lawsuits, war, public outcry, a lack of materials, or the master builder’s vision was simply too big to realize, here are 10 bizarre building that were never built
10 The Russia Tower
Designed by London based Sir Norman Foster’s firm of architects, the 620 meter Russia Tower was to feature 118 floors, 101 elevators, and have the capacity for 30,000 people. Described as a “dense vertical city,” the tower would have contained offices, a hotel, shopping center, and apartments with private gardens for 25,000 people. The Russia Tower would have been the tallest tower in Europe and the second largest in the world. Work began on the Russia Tower in 2007, but the credit crisis prevented developers from securing the $2 billion needed to complete the structure.
9 Phare du Monde
Designed by French engineer Eugene Freyssinet, Phare du Monde (“Lighthouse of the World”) was a 701 meter (1,600 ft.) observation tower that was to be built on the outskirts of Paris for the 1937 World Fair. Advertised as the “Pleasure Tower Half Mile High” the spiraling concrete structure was specifically designed for automobiles, ending in a light beacon, restaurant, and parking garage for 500 cars.
8 The Illinois
7 The Fourth Grace/The Cloud
6 Nakheel Harbor and Tower
5 Tatlin's Tower
Envisioned by Russian architect Vladimir Tatlin in 1919, Tatlin’s Tower was a utopian project intended to stand 400-meters high and serve as the headquarters and monument to the Third Communist International. Designed with industrial materials such as iron, glass, and steel, the Constructivist tower was to be erected in Leningrad (St. Petersburg) after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 as a symbol of progress and modernity.
4 Hotel Attraction
Renowned Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi reinterpreted neoclassical designs with an individualized and distinctive style known as “organic construction.” Part of the Catalan Modernism movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Gaudi was influenced by nature and natural forms and integrated crafts such as ceramics, stained glass, and floral metalwork into his structures. UNESCO declared seven of his works World Heritage Sites, and his unfinished masterpiece, Sagrada Familia, is the most visited building in Spain.
3 Palace of the Soviets
In 1931, Stalin’s Communist regime held an international architecture competition for the Palace of the Soviets, an administrative center and congress hall that was to be built near the Kremlin. Russian architect Boris Iofan’s won the competition with a design for a neoclassical skyscraper; the structure, which looked like a massive tiered wedding cake, would have been the tallest at the time and crowned with an 80-meter high statue of Lenin.
2 X-Seed 4000
1 The Volkshalle
Albert Speer was the “first architect” of the Third Reich and Hitler’s Minister of Armaments and War Production. Hitler’s vision of Germany after the “planned” victory of World War II involved the renewal of Berlin. Speer produced many of the plans for this rebuilt city, a project he called “World Capital Germania.”
The "New Berlin" featured monumental avenues, parade-ground squares, and large neoclassical civic buildings. The Volkshalle, or People’s Hall, was the centerpiece of the new capital. Inspired by Emperor Hadrian’s Pantheon in Rome, Speer envisioned the Volkshalle as a colossal dome with an auditorium so large it could hold 180,000 Nazi supporters. According to the BBC, “the dome of St. Peter’s, the world’s biggest church, could have been lowered through the 46-meter diameter oculus of the Volkshalle.”
architectuul.com, ny.curbed.com, worldhistoryconnected.press
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