Unbuilt Works Find Life in Art


Manhattan Guardian and Seven Soldiers are two new comic books from Scottish writer Grant Morrison. The New York Times reports that the comics are noteworthy not only for the gritty realism and compelling ideas that Morrison always brings to the table, but also for their representation of a Manhattan that could have been. A veritable feast for conceptual design buffs, Morrison’s New York is filled with unbuilt proposals from some of histories most noteworthy architects. Frank Lloyd Wright’s unbuilt Ellis Island Key project, for instance – shown here in the comic and in FLW’s original drawing (click for larger images). If you look close enough, the fictional Manhattan skyline also includes an unbuilt office tower by Hans Hollein, an elevated highway long supported by uber-planner Rober Moses, and a hotel proposed by Antonio Gaudi – a tower that some wanted to be built on the WTC site.


The article reminded me of Wim Wenders’ ficitonal Paris in his phenomenal 1991 film Until the End of The World This epic adventure takes place in a not too distant future that includes as part of the Parisian skyline, Jean Nouvel’s unbuilt ‘La Tour Sans Fin.’ Planned for La Defense, Nouvel’s tower was an elegant spire whose transparency increased as it rose, until it appeared to dissolve into the sky. I seem to remember reading in a Nouvel monograph that the contextual presentation rendering was so realistic, some people believed it already existed.

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So Where is Gotham City?