Visions of the Los Angeles That Could Have Been

By: | August 1st, 2013

Downey Office Building

Downey Office Building (Image Courtesy

In a recent IndustryTap article “Jobs Market 2045: What Will We Do When Machines Do All The Work?” professor Moshe Vardi notes that humans don’t deliberate enough about new technologies or projects and their long-term meaning for humans and society. We tend to “build now” and ask questions later.

A group of architects, artists and curators in Los Angeles created an exhibition in Spring 2013 to take a look back at all of the projects that would have made a significant difference to Los Angeles had they been built when proposed. The exhibit included buildings from Frank Lloyd Wright, John Lautner, Rudolph Schindler, Frank Gehry, and Thom Mayne among others.

Master plans for Los Angeles including parks, subways, and monorails, had they been built, would have significantly changed the reality, perception and experience of the city. In a short video “Never Built: Los Angeles” the group, which received $43,114 in a Kickstarter project, shows what might have been had planners chosen different projects and developments.

The aim of the exhibition was to show the people of Los Angeles what might have been, and to encourage them to think boldly about the city’s challenges and respond to them in ways that will leave a better legacy.

Here are a few examples:

Frank Lloyd Wright, for example, designed a mammoth civic center in 1925.


Frank Lloyd Wright also designed a space age like Huntington Hartford Sports Club to be built in Runyon Canyon Park in 1947.

Huntington Hartford Sport Club

Pereira and Luckman designed the master plan for the Los Angeles airport (LAX) in 1952 that looked like a giant flower on the aerial plan schematic.

PereiraLuckman LAX overview

Harlon Georgescu designed “Skylots” to be built at 405 Freeway in 1965.


Olmsted & Bartholomew designed parks, playgrounds and beaches for Los Angeles in 1930.

Olmsted & Bartholomew

Kelker & Deleuw designed subways and elevated railways in 1925.

Monorail Plan


David Russell Schilling

David lives in Boston in close proximity to Boston University, Boston College, MIT, Harvard, and Northeastern, Boston’s leading companies, labs and a vibrant startup community.

David is always open to contacts from inventors, entrepreneurs, business leaders and investors for articles and/or podcasts.

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