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10 Architectural Fails That Attempted Retrofuturism

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Retrofuturism is a creative movement whose purpose is to create and depict artistic visions of the future made from an earlier point of time. Here is a list of ten retrofuturist architectural fails, not limited to dictator monuments and out-of-the-box urban planning, from the past century.

1. Antoni Gaudi’s Hotel Attraction

Gaudi is known worldwide for his unfinished architectural masterpiece in the cathedral of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain. He was also wanted to contribute his creative hand in the New York skyline with a spaceship-like hotel called Hotel Attraction commissioned in 1908.

2. Gillette’s Metropolis

This vision was characterized as a tiered city powered by a waterfall. In Gillette’s utopia, everyone would be provided with sustainable housing with the same amenities. Everything would be accessible in his building – spaces for living, working, and play.

3. Hitler’s Welthauptstadt

Adolf Hitler envisioned a New Berlin during his reign in Germany and some regions in Europe during World War II. The new city was to be called the World Capital and made with massive Romanesque styles buildings. A street was to be named the Avenue of Victory, and his own Arc of Triumph was also planned to be constructed.

4. Lenin’s The Palace of Soviets

Made as a testament to Lenin, this Palace of Soviets would have been the tallest building in the world at 100 meters. Fortunately, the Nazis invaded Russia in 1941, and construction was immediately stopped. After the war, the material used in the foundation were used for other buildings and site became a large open-air swimming pool until the construction of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

5. Atomurbia

This imagined city was a reaction to the fear of atomic bombing in the 1940s. If it had been successful, this $5 trillion venture would have relocated industrial structures underground and spread widely residential housing to minimize bomb damages.

6. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Broadacre City

Looking away from the highrises of the present, Wright envisioned modern society to be housed in sustainable homesteads for each family. An acre of land would be given to each household, which will be filled with agriculture and gardens.

7. Seward’s Success

 Historical annals commemorate William Seward’s, current Secretary of State at the time, Folly in his purchase of Alaska from the Russian empire. He planned to redeem his image and this mistake by his envisioned construction of Seward’s Success, a domed city located in the middle of Alaska. Its crowning glory would have been the Alaskan Petroleum Center which was to house offices, living areas, and a sports arena.

8. Mel Johnson’s Boozetown

Even it may sound like a laugh, Boozetown is an honest proposal for a city construction made by Mel Johnson. The town was to have street names like Bourbon Boulevard and Gin Lane. This adults-only city was imagined to be a resort town and a paradise for drinkers as its supposed liquor stores, bars, and clubs would be open 24-hours for all its willing patrons.

9. Future New York: City of Skyscrapers

It is true that New York City has become a dazzling metropolis filled with skyscrapers. In fact, the designers and architects of 1925 presented their futuristic vision of New York with multiple numbers of aircraft and elevated train railways meant for a completely aerial civilization.

10. Buckminster Fuller’s Triton City

Triton city was meant to be a tetrahedral city and seastead found on the coast of Tokyo in Japan. The concept is a product of the curious mind of inventor and architect Buckminster Fuller in his attempts to marry eco-friendly design and 1960’s aesthetics. Triton City was meant to be the home of 6,000 people with a sustainable water system and buildings made from obsolete land materials.