Unbuilt Los Angeles: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Shangri-La

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Hillside living was the thing in 1920s Los Angeles. Wealthy Angelenos sought luxurious homes close to the hills, the most famous district being Beverly Hills of Hollywood fame.

A large section of what is now Beverly Hills was undeveloped in the early 20s and owned by an oil tycoon, Edward L. Doheny.

Frank Lloyd Wright, the grandfather of organic architecture, pitched a scheme for the estate that would transform it into a dieselpunk-era Shangri-La, with houses, roads and nature in harmony.

Wright’s proposal never went anywhere and he only drew a few sketches, circa 1923.

But what emerges from the drawings is nothing less than an idealized prototype for what American suburbs might have become, but did not, according to the Library of Congress.

As surviving perspectives demonstrate, buildings, roadways and plantings are conceived as an integrated totality; it is the vision of the suburb as one structure.

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