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There Could've Been a 23-Story Floating Palace at Wilshire and Santa Monica in Beverly Hills

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Never Built: Los Angeles is an incredible exhibition, running now through October at the A+D Museum, showcasing an enormous variety of gamechanging projects that were proposed, but never built, for Los Angeles. Throughout the run, we'll be featuring some of the lost opportunities. (And stay tuned for a full tour through the show this week.)

The intersection of Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards in Beverly Hills is a nightmare of asphalt and confusion, but in 2000, an architect known for his work on some of Beverly Hills's most-hated buildings proposed a grand solution. Hamid Omrani is "an Iranian immigrant who has designed more 'Persian Palaces' than perhaps any other southland architect"--garish architectural-mashup megamansions (to use the less offensive term) don't actually have anything to do with Iran, but he wanted to build something that did: Beverly Hills 2000 was to be "a 23-story, circular version of the palace at Persepolis, the ancient capital that was near present-day Shiraz, in Iran." It included a glass-enclosed museum floating on seven Doric columns (each referring to one of the seven Liberal Arts).

And it gets so much better: "As cars sped beneath the elevated structure, pedestrians could enter from elevated walkways connecting the monument to the Beverly Hilton Hotel and to shops on Little Santa Monica and Wilshire. Spreading from this nucleus would be miles of raised promenades, placed down the spines of the alleys that run behind the expensive storefronts of downtown Beverly Hills." Each street, then, would also have "a dedicated [artistic] purpose" (sculpture, dance, etc.). Small-thinking Beverly Hills, however, "has repeatedly demurred on Beverly Hills 2000."
· Never Built: Los Angeles [A+D Museum]