Maybe it’s a product of the architecture firms where I’ve worked, or maybe it’s because of economic conditions that have persisted since I entered and graduated from architecture school, but most of the projects I’ve worked on have been shelved, canned, or axed. I think this is likely true for most architects and may explain explain why I (and others) have an affinity for unbuilt projects. In some instances, the projects are unbuildable by design; but other projects are aborted thanks to someone’s hubris other than the architect. So this week I thought we’d look at projects that didn’t quite make it.

One of my favorite unbuilt projects is the Monument to the Third International by Vladimir Tatlin. The highlight of the structure, for me, is the rotating geometric volumes inside the helix: each one a different shape, each one a different function and each one rotating at a different speed. To be clear, these are building-sized chunks of his project rotating like a giant clock. It sounds like something from Dubai, but this was 1919 in recently-revolutionized Russia.

What is your favorite unbuilt project?


December 6, 2010