Construction Projects We Will Never See
Our articles in the past have often discussed upcoming construction projects, currently existent notable buildings, and buildings which no longer exist, however in this week's article we will look at some construction projects which never were. Whether they were planned but ultimately cancelled, never gathered enough support, or were deemed architecturally improbably or environmentally disastrous (one stands out in particular). For a glimpse into a different world, take a look at this list and decide for yourself whether their cancellation was for better or worse.
The Dvorak Mausoleum was designed by the architect Adolf Loos and would have been built to house the remains of the Czech art historian Max Dvorak (not to be confused for renowned composer Antonin Dvorak - the pair were not related). The architect wanted to build a tomb for the historian because, in his own words, "only a very small part of architecture belongs to the realm of art: the tomb and the monument". Loos believed that this mausoleum would have been a fitting tribute to the art historian; it was a square chamber built from blocks of Swedish black granite 20 feet high, and the interior would have been decorated with frescoes designed by Austrian artist Oscar Kokoschka. Roof edge demarcation would have been largely unnecessary, as the mausoleum would have been topped with a ziggurat of black granite blocks. The mausoleum was only planned, never built, however the dream was realised in part when British architect Sam Jacob built a scale replica of the mausoleum at Highgate Cemetery.
Overwhelmingly Large Telescope
The Overwhelmingly Large Telescope was a design for an overwhelmingly large telescope (yes, really) which would have had a massive lens with a diameter of 100 metres. Plans for the telescope were developed by the European Southern Observatory, an organisation which conducts astronomical research in the southern hemisphere of earth. It was first proposed in 1998, but wasn't expecting to be technologically possible until 2010 at the earliest. The Overwhelmingly Large Telescope was expected to see far beyond anything that the Hubble Space Telescope could manage, and receive images in far better quality too. For this reason, it's guessed that had the telescope been built, we could explore planets similar to earth in good detail and potentially open up new worlds to visit in the future. The telescope was unfortunately never built, however, as it would have been exceedingly complex and expensive due to its size. Instead, the European Southern Observatory focused on a telescope with a far smaller diameter of only 39 metres. This telescope was called the Extremely Large Telescope - it seems that for all the ESO's grand telescopic designs, they haven't yet designed many creative naming schemes for their projects.
One of many grand yet unrealistic designs planned out in the 1920s, the Ville Contemporaine (French: "Contemporary City") would have been a community capable of housing three million inhabitants. Designed by notable architect Le Corbusier, or Charles-Edouard Jeanneret to give him his real name, the Ville Contemporaine would have been a block of several 60-story cross-shaped apartment blocks built on steel frames with glass. These skyscrapers would have housed both apartments and offices and would have stood in the middle of rectangular public parks full of greenery, so as to prevent the Ville from being colourless and bland. At the centre of the city there would have been a bus depot and train station to facilitate public transport across the city. Footpaths and roads would have been entirely separate by design; cars and even personal aeroplanes were expected to be put to great use by the wealthy. The poorer inhabitants of the city would be situated as far from the wealthier inner core as Le Corbusier could get them in their own apartment blocks, well away from the central street. As you might imagine, this city was never built, being incredibly expensive and also a huge labour of planning to fit 3 million people into such a built-up area.
Atlantropa was a huge feat of engineering and terraforming which would have created a huge amount of new land by building a dam at Gibraltar and draining the Mediterranean Sea. Additional dams would have been built across the Dardanelles, between Sicily and Tunisia, in the Suez canal and finally the Congo River. The Atlantropa project would have had a huge environmental impact on the world by lowering the Mediterranean's sea level and irrigating Central Africa, allowing for plenty of new farmland in the continent and a new way to bring Africa and Europe closer together. The idea was that ultimately the two continents would unite into one, called Atlantropa. The project was devised by German architect Herman Sorgel and enjoyed much support from the Nazi Party, who believed that it would be an excellent way to feed the Third Reich after the war was won, as well as bring it closer to its new African colonies seized from the United Kingdom and France in the west. Thankfully, the Nazis were never given the opportunity to bring this project to reality, as they were crushed by the Grand Alliance in the Second World War. Atlantropa saw some small support from the western Allies after the war, but ultimately the decolonisation of Africa was the final nail in the Atlantropa project's coffin. It's unlikely that this project will ever occur now, and given the immense environmental change that the project would cause, this may be a good thing.