The all-time greats of architecture are rightly revered for the impact their built work affected on the discourse of building design, construction and engineering. Many are celebrated for their essays and lectures, the contribution to the academic and theoretical canon. And some of these can be admired for their unbuilt works – a vast ocean of frustrated efforts, ranging from the fanciful flights of ‘paper architecture’, through to the detailed drawings scuppered by circumstance just months from construction. There are thousands out there (and please chip in with any you think are worthy of mention), but for now here are my favourites; some of the 20th Century’s big missed opportunities, from some of the architects who most inspire me. Here’s what you could have won…

(click each image for a high-res shot)


(all images kindly sourced from the wonderful Google Image Search. All copyright belongs to owners)


2 thoughts on “The ‘Might Have Been’s

    • Hi Virginia

      Thanks for the comment – I totally agree that these projects are no less inspirational just because they were never built!
      Something about an unbuilt work achieves a mythological or legendary status – perhaps because they can never be visited they surpass the potential to disappoint or feel anti-climactic that all built works risk? They will never endure the compromises or realities of the construction process, nor will they age and fall into tired disrepair.


      p.s: Someone on twitter suggested the addition of Le Corbusier’s lagoon-side Venice Hospiral – another excellent project!
      Any more?

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