LOver the years, ondon has been the focus of some questionable urban design ideas – from transforming Soho into a concrete office complex, building a wheeled airport that squeezed over Kings Cross, and straightening the Thames.
In collaboration with the rendering agency CG Orange, developer Barratt Homes has tagged 3D images of various proposals, some of which were reported here by Guardian Cities, with Google Earth images of where they would stand.
Westminster City Airport
An airport at the Thames Estuary is not as original as Boris Johnson might have thought. A 1934 plan suggested that the Thames itself house a new airport, adjacent to the Houses of Parliament between the Westminster and Lambeth bridges. It should be big enough to accommodate passing ships and suitable for aircraft with a propeller.
For the rendering here, the agency CG Orange has adapted the original design with a new, ramped runway to give the planes more time to take off and a check-in lounge on the riverbank, in addition to storage (of aircraft and fuel) scheduled was under the runway and lifts in the buttresses.
The Carlton Hotel
Designed by architect CJ Phipps, this luxury hotel was open from 1899 to 1940 and was originally run by notorious hotelier César Ritz. The head chef was Auguste Escoffier and competed for prestige with the Savoy (whom the couple previously ran). During World War II it was badly damaged by bombs and finally completely destroyed in 1958. The New Zealand High Commission is in its place.
The Trafalgar Square Ziggurat
In the early 19th century, Sir Frederick William Trench, MP and soldier, had the idea of recalling the defeat of the French at the last Battle of Trafalgar and the earlier Battle of the Nile.
His idea? A pyramid at the top of Whitehall. Blueprints show that at 22 steps it would have been higher than St. Paul's Cathedral, one for each of the years in which the English and French had fought in these conflicts. Instead, the land was cleared and erected a statue of Nelson. The dream of a London Ziggurat was over.
The central London monorail
Nearly 50 years ago, when the bus fell off and cars clogged the streets, London briefly toyed with the idea of discarding many of the buses and replacing them with a monorail.
Proposed by Brian Waters and supported by the Conservative opposition in the GLC, the monorail would have had four major loops. Despite this early political support, the plans were shut down within a few years.
The victorian skyscraper
After the great exhibition of 1851, there were a number of plans to do with the structure (originally located in Hyde Park, but later relocated to Sydenham, now the Crystal Palace Park).
One idea was, obviously, to build London's tallest skyscraper: Charles Burton devised a plan for a 500-meter-high building that would now be 100 feet higher than the Shard given the height of southern London's location. At the summit there should be "vertical railways" (we could call them elevators now) and a huge clock at half height.
Sources: Google Maps, Earth and Street View data courtesy of Google