Saturday, November 19, 2011

Build it and they will come

Proposed Lincoln Memorial by John Russell Pope, 1912.
Interesting review of  the National Building Museum's "Unbuilt Washington" show in today's Washington Post.  I'd love to see this show!  A great collection of proposed streetplans, monuments and buildings that were, as you can imagine, never built....and too bad, in my humble "o".  Who wouldn't want a fuck-off enormous ziggurat at the end of the National Mall?

....The pyramid has architectural pedigree even more ancient than the Greek temple, yet no major pyramid has been built in Washington. Why? Not because it’s never been proposed. Benjamin Latrobe designed a monument with a pyramid-shaped top and simple columns as a mausoleum for George Washington in 1799-1800, but it was never built. Nor was the 1837 colossal pyramid-shaped Washington monument proposed by Peter Force, who seemed to be channeling the terrifying utopian grandeur of the visionary French architect Etienne-Louis Boullee.

Nor were any of the various pyramid schemes, or the round ziggurat, proposed by John Russell Pope (architect of the Jefferson Memorial) as a monument to Lincoln in 1911-12. In each case, the form seems desperately, even comically out of place, and yet as curator Martin Moeller argues, a pyramid is no more or less arbitrary as a Lincoln memorial than the rectangular classical temple (designed by Henry Bacon) that was ultimately finished in 1922.

BTW, Wikipedia lists some American ziggurats for your benefit:

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