As part of in Gizmodo's recent feature on buildings "that could have transformed American cities"—unlike the structures that actually changed America, these plans, for better or for worse, remained unbuilt—Frank Lloyd Wright's plans for two Chicago towers are a lesson in architectural woolgathering of a bygone era, sketches that are decades and leagues of beauty apart from the pop-up metropolises, floating amoebic cityscapes, and phallic complexes of today's pie-in-the-sky renderings. Exhibit A: Wright's 1923 plan for the National Life Insurance Building in Chicago, a 25-story fortress of intricate copper panels slated for the North end of the Magnificent Mile.
"There is no unsalable floor space in this building created 'for effect', and no features manufactured 'for effect,'" Wright said of his design.
And then, of course, there were his 1956 plans for a mile-high (5,280 feet and nearly double the height of the Burj Khalifa) tower called The Illinois. In hindsight this particular idea seems downright ridiculous, especially considering, nearly 60 years later, developers are still struggling to build towers a fraction of the size.
· 8 Unrealized Buildings That Could've Transformed American Cities [Gizmodo]
· The Power of the Internet and Frank Lloyd Wright [The Operable Window]
· Mapping PBS's 10 Buildings That Changed America [Curbed National]
· All Metropolis 2.0 posts [Curbed National