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Stuck on Paper: Renowned Architects’ Unrealized Visions of L.A.

A local museum gives the public a view of Los Angeles that could have been

If you take a drive through the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles you might catch a glimpse of Frank Lloyd Wright’s love letter to Mayan architecture: The Ennis House. More than 80 years after its construction in 1924, the historic landmark outshines its surrounding residential dwellings with its symmetrical structure, ornate design, and concrete composition.

If you walk around the northern part of downtown, you will catch a glimpse of the greatest concentration of city government employees—but not another wonder constructed by a architect with the last name Wright. In 1925, a year after Frank designed the Ennis House, his son, Frank Lloyd Wright Jr., proposed a comprehensive plan for Los Angeles’ Civic Center. Wright Jr. designed several major structures in Los Angeles—the John Sowden House and the Wayfarers Chapel to name two—but the Civic Center was ultimately not one of them. That’s because it was never built. The onset of the Great Depression stalled Wright’s architectural firm before his plans for that structure could get off the ground.

Frank Lloyd Wright Jr. is just one of many visionary architects to have missed out on reshaping some of the city’s most historic landmarks. The Architecture and Design Museum of Los Angeles is giving the public a chance to explore Wright Jr.’s and other architect’s unrealized vision for the city in the upcoming exhibition “Never Built.” The museum will showcase models, master plans, and project ideas by designers, including Anthony Lumsden, Steven Holl, and Paul Williams, and explore why these buildings were never built.

The “Never Built” exhibition will run from July 11-September 15, 2013