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Radical visions of a future that never arrived

Christopher Beanland



ISBN: 9781849946636

Price: £ 25.00

Publication date: 2 September 2021

ISBN: 9781849947459

ASIN: 9781849947459

Price: £ 17.99

  Our price: £

Publication date: 2 September 2021

Category: Architecture

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Unbuilt tells the stories of the plans, drawings and proposals that emerged during the 20th century in an unparalleled era of optimism in architecture.

Many of these grand projects stayed on the drawing board, some were flights of fancy that couldn’t be built, and in other cases test structures or parts of buildings did emerge in the real world. The book features the work of Buckminster Fuller, Geoffrey Bawa, Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright and Archigram, as well as contemporary architects such as Norman Foster, Zaha Hadid, Will Alsop and Rem Koolhaas.

Richly illustrated with photographs, drawings, maps, collages and models from all over the world, it covers everything from Buckminster Fuller’s plan for a ‘Domed city’ in Manhattan to Le Corbusier’s utopian dream of skyscraper living in central Paris, from a proposed network of motorways ploughing through central London to a crazy-looking scheme for ‘rolling pavements’ in post-war Berlin. 

This is an important book, not just for the rich stories of what might have been in our built world, but also to give understanding to the motivations and dreams of architects, sometimes to build a better world, but sometimes to pander to egos. It includes plans that pushed the boundaries – from plug-in cities, moving cities, space cities, domes and floating cities to Maglev, teleportation and rockets. Many ideas were just ahead of their time, and some, thankfully, we were always better without. 


Christopher Beanland is a journalist, comedy writer and author who specialises in architecture and travel writing. He is the author of Unbuilt: Radical Visions of a Future that Never Arrived and Lido: A dip into outdoor swimming pools: the history, design and people behind them. He writes regularly for the Guardian, Independent and The Telegraph and is the creator of Park Date – a podcast where he interviews celebrity guests in a park. Christopher lives in London.



‘Told in clean, clear prose accompanied by collages, sketches, models and maps, Beanland’s book plumbs the archives of 20th-century plans for alternate visions of our cities’

Monocle Weekend Newsletter

‘Discover a plethora of boundary pushing ideas ahead of their time and designs that never left the drawing board’

The Modern House

‘A fantastic survey of 20th century architectural ambitions. It spans a host of ideas that … run the gamut of the sublime to the ridiculous, often calling into question some of the great visionaries of the modern age’

The London Society

‘A very beautiful hardback book full of colour illustrations and fascinating stories of dreams that never became reality’

‘A thing of beauty’

John Grindrod

‘Runs the gamut of the sublime to the ridiculous, often calling into the question some of the great visionaries of the modern age’

London Society Journal