What do you get when you put Paris and New York together? Haussmanhattan! A portmanteau of Baron Haussmann, the prefect of the Seine who remade the French capital for Napoleon III, and Manhattan, the central borough of New York.
It is also a project of architect Luis Fernandes’, who gives us a beautiful tour of a city that never was.
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From Stalin’s megalomanic Palace of the Soviets to an aerodynamically shaped headquarters for the Soviet airline Aeroflot, visit the Moscow that never was.
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Amsterdam could have had a Parisian-style boulevard.
Around the turn of the last century, the city council accepted proposals for a new commodity exchange. It initially favored a design sponsored by hotelier W.P. Werker, who would have demolished a whole street of buildings between the Dutch capital’s central railway station and the Royal Palace on the Dam Square to create something of a miniature Champs-Élysées.
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A monumental elephant in place of the Arc de Triomphe. An aerodrome in the Jardins de Bagatelle. Multiple Eiffel Towers. Take our tour of the Paris that never was!
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By the middle of the nineteenth century, Barcelona was bursting at the seams. The city hadn’t expanded beyond its medieval walls, but its population had grown almost 50 percent between 1800 and 1850. The congestion was contributing to outbreaks of disease. There was clearly a need for expansion, but it wasn’t until 1853 that the central government in Madrid allowed Barcelona to tear down its walls.
Two expansion plans were introduced, one by Antoni Rovira i Trias, which was favored by the Barcelona city council, and another by Ildefonso Cerdá, which was favored by Madrid. Neither was implemented in full, but Cerdá’s, with its distinctive hexagonal blocks, proved by far the most influential.
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Elevated railways, sky bridges, rooftop airports and a plan to drain the East River. New York City would have looked very different if these architects and engineers had had their way.
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The 1942 World’s Fair in Rome was an opportunity for Benito Mussolini to celebrate twenty years of Fascism and show to the world what progress Italy had made.
The fair never happened. World War II did. But Mussolini still built a complex for the Esposizione Universale Roma (EUR).
Continue reading “Mussolini’s New Rome”
Los Angeles is a dieselpunk’s delight with its collection of Art Deco architecture, ranging from its famous City Hall to the Art Nouveau-ish Bullocks Wilshire to the iconic Eastern Columbia Building to the heavyset headquarters of the Los Angeles Times.
If it had been up to the following architects, though, the city would have been turned into a theme park of postwar, Atomic Age architecture as well.
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Various proposals have been made through the years for buildings and building expansions in America’s capital that came to naught — from a Lincoln Memorial in the shape of a pyramid to a palatial Executive Mansion on Meridian Hill.
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When you look at the projects that the Nazi government tackled, you cannot rid yourself of the feeling that they had a grandiosity fetish.
To put it in more direct terms: Megalomania was an intrinsic feature of the system. World domination, tank-battleships like the Landkreuzer Ratte and the drastic redesign of Berlin into the capital of the world — Germania.
Continue reading “Hitler’s Nightmare Capital of the World”