Design collection shows unbuilt plans for London landscape
- 22nd December 2015
- Crazy but True Stories
Royal Institute of British Architects has released a collection of landmark buildings that were planned, but never built
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has showcased a collection of designs which exhibit what could have been a very different landscape of London than it is today. The collection includes 300 years’ worth of designs which would have transformed some of London’s most recognisable landmarks and added a couple more.
One of London’s iconic buildings, Tower Bridge, which was to have been renamed the ‘Bascule Bridge’, was one of the designs most reminiscent of what stands today. With a curved central design and shorter towers, ‘Bascule Bridge’ would have forsaken the upper walkway, now one of its main tourist attractions.
In another plan a tower, which would have overshadowed Big Ben and stood as the tallest building in the UK, was set to be built in Westminster in 1904. In the early 20th century, people thought that Westminster Abbey was too cluttered with monuments and this design was set to house them all.
Designs also included a modernised version of the Grosvenor House hotel in Park Lane by German artist and set designer George Ramon. This sci-fi-esque redesign includes a multi-level road and a landing pad on the roof.
The designer of Nelson’s column in Trafalgar Square had won a competition in 1841. One of the alternative designs to commemorate Nelson was a large globe designed by John Goldicutt.
Another failed competition entry was by Alfred Waterhouse who entered the 1867 competition for the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand. He then went on to design the Natural History Museum in 1881.
The collection also includes a design for an extravagant International Music Hall and Opera House at Hyde Park Corner. The location where this was to be set is now home to the Lanesborough Hotel.
Much more recently, Richard Rogers submitted a competition design for a modernist extension to the National Gallery, the design was not used on this occasion but was later adopted for the Lloyd’s building.
One of London’s iconic buildings, Tower Bridge, was to have been renamed the ‘Bascule Bridge’
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