Monumental Buildings That Were Planned But Never Realized

Here are some of the most interesting monumental buildings that were planned but never realized

The Palace of the Soviets, Moscow

At the heart of the grand Soviet vision for Moscow: the world’s tallest structure, topped by a 300-foot statue of Lenin. Construction began in 1933 but ended in 1941 to divert resources to the war effort – upon Germany’s invasion.

monumental buildings
monumental buildings

The Triumphal Elephant, Paris

A five-story-tall elephant was meant to stand at the Champs-Élysées. It would’ve had a ballroom inside big enough for an orchestra, and ears functioning as giant megaphones. 50 years later, the Arc de Triomphe was built instead.

monumental buildings

However, this colossal statue was actually built after being conceived later by Napoleon. It stood at the Place de la Bastille, but was made of plaster not bronze (as Napoleon intended).

monumental buildings

The Illinois, Chicago

In 1957, Frank Lloyd Wright wanted to build a mile-high skyscraper in Chicago – 2x taller than the Burj Khalifa. Its feasibility was obviously questionable, but here’s a modern visualization of how it would have looked.

monumental buildings

The Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C.

This was once a front-runner in the design contest for the Lincoln Memorial – designed by John Russell Pope and inspired by the ziggurats of Ancient Mesopotamia.

The Lincoln Memorial

Hotel Attraction, NYC

New York nearly had its own Sagrada FamíliaGaudí designed this skyscraper in 1908 to be the world’s tallest. One theory for its cancellation is that Gaudí, a communist, fell out with the idea of building a lavish playhouse for the rich.

Hotel Attraction

Thames Embankment, London

Legendary painter John Martin drew up detailed plans in 1828 for a three-story structure and sewage system along the banks of the River Thames. His grand vision was reflected in his masterpiece, “Pandemonium” – a depiction of Hell in Paradise Lost.

Thames Embankment

Newton’s Cenotaph

In 1784, French architect Étienne-Louis Boullée designed a giant funerary monument for Isaac Newton. It would have been a perfect sphere of immense scale, taller than the Great Pyramid.

Newton's Cenotaph

Small holes in the dome would have created a starry sky effect in daytime. At night, the interior lighting would shine through the exterior. Boullée’s idea was a visionary ode to the Enlightenment, but not a serious proposal – unsurprisingly it was never attempted.

Newton's Cenotaph

Credit: Culture Critic