The Daily Beast


Will The Dream Town of Arcosanti Ever Be Finished?

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May 7, 2016
Construction began on Paolo Soleri’s “urban laboratory” of Arocsanti, Arizona, in 1970. Its experimental mixture of architecture and ecology remains only partially realized.

Next weekend will be the latest iteration of FORM, a free-by-application music and art festival that seeks to “celebrate creativity,” “foster collaboration,” “inspire new work and perspective,” and “promote art in public life.”

This vaguely cosmic and utopian ethos, incompatible with typical festival venues like stadiums or concert halls, has found its ideal physical setting in Arcosanti, a cluster of concrete domes, arches and interconnected structures that form the skeleton of a tiny village tucked into a desert valley 70 miles north of Phoenix.

Inside The Tower of David, Venezuela’s Vertical Slum

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April 23, 2016
It was supposed to be a dramatic symbol of wealth, but became a squatters’ paradise. Now the Torre de David stands vacant in the center of Caracas, its future unclear.

The Torre David was supposed to be one of the tallest buildings in Venezuela. Instead, it became its most notorious slum.

The skyscraper, halted mid-construction in the early 1990s, was taken over by thousands of squatters in 2007. For years they turned the building into an informal community that was photographed, filmed and made famous worldwide as a “vertical slum.”

Today, emptied of its unsanctioned inhabitants, it once again stands vacant in the center of the Venezuelan capital, its future unclear.

Could Trains Ever Run on Cincinnati’s Secret Subway?

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April 9, 2016
A hundred years after construction began, the shell of a subway tunnel still lies beneath the Ohio city’s streets, empty and unfinished.

One hundred years ago this month, the Ohio city of Cincinnati made a fateful decision.

The city’s voters, by a majority of almost six-to-one, approved a bond issue to provide about $6 million of public money toward the construction of a two-track, 16-mile loop subway system.

It would be one of the first subway systems in the U.S., and would help connect a booming residential population south to the thriving downtown of what was then one of the 15 biggest cities in the country.

Zaha Hadid: A Brilliant Legacy in Buildings

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March 31, 2016
The death of Zaha Hadid has robbed architecture of one of its most famous and controversial figures. Her buildings and influence means Hadid leaves a vibrant legacy.

The death of Zaha Hadid, one of the world's most famous and influential architects, at 65, came as a shock. She leaves a notable legacy.

Hadid, the Iraqi-born British architect whose work has been celebrated by the top prizes in architecture, including the Pritzker Prize in 2004 and the Royal Institute of British Architects’ Royal Gold Medal in 2016, died suddenly in Miami early Thursday, according to a statement released by her office, Zaha Hadid Architects.

Unfinished Architecture: This Was Almost New York’s Tallest Building

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March 26, 2016
Even though it ended up being significantly shorter than originally planned, the Metropolitan Life North Building has become a New York City architectural landmark.

On Madison Avenue, at the edge of Madison Square Park, in the dense crush of skyscrapers that fill the middle of Manhattan, the Metropolitan Life North Building, one of New York City’s earliest tall buildings, stands out from its surroundings.

In an elegant counterbalance to today’s gleaming glass and steel super-tall towers that are rapidly redrawing the skyline, it is clad in beige limestone and decorated in the art deco style, with vertical flutes running up its sides and intricate details at its roofline.

Unfinished Architecture: Inside Rome's Ghost Stadium

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March 20, 2016
Rome’s unfinished grand swimming stadium was neither a victim of hubris or bad construction—but rather simple economics. It may even have a chance of Olympics life.

By the side of a highway on the outskirts of Rome, a mountain of white steel pops out of the landscape. Curved and climbing to a peak like a rigid circus tent, its gridded, geodesic framing appears from a distance to be some sort of humpback dinosaur's skeleton.

And it is a skeleton, in a way.

This white steel structure is the half-built shell of one building of the Città dello Sport, or Sports City, a complex of sporting facilities for the University of Rome Tor Vergata, master-planned in 2005 by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.

Unfinished Architecture: Las Vegas' Incredible Shrinking Tower

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February 27, 2016
The plan for Las Vegas’ 49-story Harmon tower sounded, and looked, grand. But it was literally cut down in its prime.

The unfinished architecture of the world comes in many varieties, with many reasons for their halted development.

Some buildings, like cathedrals, remain unfinished, to some eyes, because they can take centuries to build. Some buildings are never completed because, whether due to poor judgment or the hubris of their builders, they’re simply bad ideas. And some buildings are never finished because they can’t be.

Inside the Big Lebowski’s Porn Mansion: John Lautner’s Most Famous House Becomes a Museum Piece

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February 20, 2016
The house John Lautner designed for The Big Lebowski is going to be donated to LACMA, meaning students will be able to see the architect’s stunning, mid-century modernist architecture up close.

The striking mid-century modernist architecture of John Lautner was seemingly designed for the movies.

His residential projects—many of which are peppered throughout the wealthier parts of Southern California—have become prominent settings for films, from Diamonds are Forever to Lethal Weapon 2 to Less Than Zero to Body Double. One even had an animated turn in an episode of The Simpsons.

Unfinished Architecture: North Korea’s Best Building Is Empty - The Mystery of the Ryugyong Hotel

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February 13, 2016
Nearly 30 years—and an estimated $750 million—after its construction began, the empty and unused Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang remains a glorified telecommunications antenna.

There are unfinished buildings all over the world, but the most mysterious—by far—is the Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea.

Towering over the rest of the mid-rise city at more than 1,000 feet, the 105-story pyramid-shaped building with the ballpoint-pen top remains off-limits to the public, despite decades of construction and an estimated cost in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Why Buses Are the Saviors of Our Most Car-Crazy Cities

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August 17, 2015
Under a new plan, more than a million people are within a half-mile walk of a high-frequency bus stop in Houston. Is this a blueprint for other car-reliant cities like L.A.?

One of the most radical experiments in American public transportation is being conducted right now in Houston.

Yes, Houston—the sprawling oiltown where life without a car seems almost unlivable. But if the experiment works as planned, a carfree lifestyle will be a real possibility for hundreds of thousands of Houstonians.