Help fund a Queens Museum exhibit that would showcase 200 years of daring ideas ‘Never Built’ in NYC

Photos courtesy of Queens Museum

The Queens Museum wants to show attendees “an alternate Gotham” with an exhibit that would explore 200 years of architectural and urban designs that have been proposed but never fully realized.

A Kickstarter to help install “Never Built New York” was started on May 22 and has already received $14,997 as of May 25. The museum plans to open the exhibit in September and will use the money to support the installation of the gallery. It hopes to raise $35,000 by June 22.

Curated by Sam Lubell and Greg Goldin and designed by Christian Wassmann “Never Built New York” will feature sketches, drawings, 3-D models and more than 70 rarely seen models installed on the “Panorama of the City of New York.”


The miniature models are being built by Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation and some models will be given to people who contribute to the fundraising campaign.

“We want to put these bold solutions on display and show audiences that it’s OK to dream,” Lubell said in a video on the Kickstarter page. “Help us bring this world of possibility to the Queens Museum so we can present ambitious ideas, spark imagination and visualize urban change.”

The projects range from United Nations headquarters at Flushing Meadows Corona Park to a climate-controlled dome in Midtown Manhattan.

Take a look at some of the never built structures that will be displayed at the exhibit:

Buckminster Fuller – Dome Over Manhattan


Architect Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller publicly unveiled this project in 1954. The glass dome in Midtown Manhattan would span the width of the island and was three times the height of the Empire State Building. Fuller wanted to provide New Yorkers with the perfect climate year-round. According to the Buckminster Fuller Institute, the architect showed off his idea at the 1954 Triennale in Milan.

The 42-foot paperboard Geodesic was installed in old Sforza garden in Milan and won the highest award, the Gran Premio. The cardboard shelter, which had assembly directions printed on it, could be easily shipped and assembled.

I.M. Pei – Hyperboloid


Due to Robert Young’s untimely death, this re-imagination of Grand Central was never realized. The newly elected chairman of the New York Central Railroad chose architect I.M. Pei to design the new station, which was released in 1954. Pei’s “Hyperboloid” was a 1,497-foot-tall office tower and transit hub that would cost approximately $100 million and span 108 stories. The proposed 9-acre site would have been the the world’s tallest and most expensive structure. Young died in 1958 and the project was scrapped.

Frank Lloyd Wright – Key Project for Ellis Island


In 1959, Frank Lloyd Wright imagined Ellis Island as a car-free Utopia that could house 7,500 residents. The design included air-conditioned domes, theaters, hospitals, churches, schools, a library, a sports arena and moving sidewalks. He described it as “causal, inspired living, minus the usual big-city clamor” and “a jewel suspended over the water and surrounded by it, free of congestion and noise.”

Wright’s project was denied and Ellis Island was eventually declared a national monument in 1965.

The projects go as far back as 1880. Those who donate to the campaign will receive prizes like special access to the exhibit, an autographed copy of the book “Never Built New York,” limited-edition prints and a 3-D model of one of the structures.

To donate to the campaign, visit the Kickstarter page. The project will only be funded if it reaches its $35,000 goal by June 22.

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