8. The George Washington Bridge Was Supposed to be Clad in Granite and Concrete
Le Corbusier called the George Washington Bridge “the most beautiful bridge in the world” but its modern allure is a mere accident of time. The bridge’s towers were supposed to be clad in a concrete envelope faced in pink granite chiseled with Beaux Arts flourishes, as well as statuary to cover the points where the barrel cables pass through the roadway on their way to the anchorages. These plans, along with grand plazas for the bridges entrances with heroic statuary and a fountain on the New York side, were dreamt up by Cass Gilbert, who most famously design the Woolworth Building.
According to Le Corbusier, “the towers were to have been faced with stone molded and sculpted in ‘Beaux Arts’ style.…Someone acted…’Stop! No stone or decoration here.’…They dismissed the architect with his decorations.” In truth, ‘twas the depression that killed Gilbert’s design. Read the full story of what happened here.