Yes, even in early America, long before the epic battle over the Miami convention complex raged and centuries before developers of glistening NYC skyscrapers had a handful of starchitect renderings to choose from, clashes over who would design major urban buildings were fought tooth and nail. The proof is in National Geographic's recent post showcasing the archival drawings of totally unbuilt, and, in hindsight, fairly odd-looking proposals famous Washington, D.C. monuments. The stepped pyramid, above? Yeah, that's architect John Russell Pope's 1912 scheme for the Lincoln Memorial.
His Egyptian-style dream lost, in the end, to Henry Bacon's Neoclassical idea—it's rumored, apparently, that Pope didn't like the planned plot at the end of the National Mall, so he presented "outrageous designs as a psychological ploy to use another site," or so says a curator at the National Building Museum—though he did design the Jefferson Memorial and National Gallery of Art.
Pyramids? For the U.S. of A? Yeah, and actually it's not totally crazy, as the curator, Martin Moeller, points out: "If you think about it, how much more bizarre is it than using an ancient Egyptian obelisk as a symbol for the nation's first president?" Speaking of which, here's an alternate version of the Washington Memorial, with the actual, built version on the right:
Now all we have to do is stop the ones we got from, uh, looking like this.