Rejected Landmarks

Some landmarks are instantly recognisable and have become part of a city’s identity – others, however, could have turned out remarkably different…

Below are some of the most notable transformations including Paris’ stunning Arc de Triomphe as a giant elephant and the Lincoln Memorial featuring an impressive pyramid.

The Arc de Trimophe, which was formerly opened in 1836, stands proudly in the heart of Paris at the end of the Champs-Élysées and centre of Place Charles de Gaulle. But many years earlier in 1758, architect Charles Ribart proposed a plan to erect a giant elephant on the same spot. The elephant would have had three levels that would have been accessible via a spiral staircase and a drainage system that would run through the animal’s trunk. However, the French government rejected his plans – phew!

For tourists, no trip to London would be complete without snapping a selfie next to the city’s most instantly recognisable bridge. But in 1876 the City of London Corporation had to wade through 50 different designs for the crossing after announcing they were to build another bridge across the Thames. One of those designs was by F.J Palmer, who proposed featuring moveable platforms at either end of the bridge, so that tall-masted ships could pass through while maintaining the flow of road traffic.

Opened in 1973, the Sydney Opera House is an iconic symbol of the sights Down Under. And in 1955, an international design competition was launched for architects to submit their plans. One of them was by Sir Eugene Goossens, the conductor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, who designed it with perfect acoustics. However, it was submission 218 out of 223 by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, which featured a sail boat design, that was picked as the winner.

In 1911, US Congress approved the building of the Lincoln Memorial with the Commission of Fine Arts recommending Henry Bacon as the prime candidate to design the landmark. But John Russell Pope was also eager to put forward his own proposals, and the Memorial Commission gave him the opportunity to submit designs. Pope submitted several designs drawing on the grand pasts of other cultures, including a ziggurat. However, the Memorial Commission preferred Bacon’s plans despite Pope’s design being highly regarded in the architecture community.


Click here to checkout all of the rejected designs of landmarks from around the world

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