Unbuilt Architecture

In Celebration of Good Ideas: The Unbuilt of PRA

We are often asked what it is like to see our work come to life during construction.  The answer is more complex than it might seem. There is joy in knowing that we were able to achieve the goals of our clients and positively affect the lives of those who will use a built project. And, certainly, we share pride in knowing that our hard work leaves a lasting impact on the community. 

It needs to get built, of course.

Real-world circumstances don’t always result in a finished project. Unbuilt Architecture exists in every firm. The truth is that sometimes imagination, creativity, and problem-solving live on only upon our drafting boards. Or in the drawers of our plan files (or in the ones and zeros of our storage devices).

Unbuilt Architecture occupies a special place in our hearts.  Often the product of design competitions or marketing efforts that emphasize creativity and innovation, these projects allow us to mine the deepest depths of our imagination, to question the status quo, and to elevate the art of architecture to places we rarely visit.  They are often very large projects, such as corporate headquarters, university buildings, stadiums, and even districts within cities, which allows us to explore new ideas boldly, present them dramatically, and save the details for a later time.

The best of these are unbuilt projects that spawn new ideas we may carry forth into future work, or allow us to explore an idea that has been brewing in our minds for years.  They represent the best we can do, mostly unfettered by the constraints of a typical project. 

Examples of PRA Unbuilt Architecture

At PRA, we have enjoyed creating our own archives of unbuilt projects. We present some of them here as love letters to our profession: