Hotel Attraction, Gaudí and the Lower Manhattan Skyline That Could Have Been 

04/23/2024
Hotel Attraction, Gaudí and the Lower Manhattan Skyline That Could Have Been 

Lower Manhattan is full of architectural marvels. But there’s something to be said for the structural wonders that never made it off the drawing board — as the Hotel Attraction, an innovative luxury hotel designed by famed artist and architect Antoni Gaudí. 

As the story goes, two unknown businessmen traveled to Spain to meet with Gaudí, whose ambitious, whimsical design style was already well known thanks to projects like La Sagrada Familia and Park Güell in Barcelona. In 1908, Gaudí proposed the Hotel Attraction, a futuristic property with a series of conical towers stretching as high as 1,100 feet into the sky. The Hotel Attraction would have had six floors of restaurants, a large theater and lecture hall, multiple galleries and a 390-foot-tall exhibition space. If it had been built, it would have been the tallest building in the country at the time. While unverified, it’s been suggested that Hotel Attraction was intended for the space that would later house the World Trade Center.

As a quick glance at the skyline could tell you, Hotel Attraction never came to fruition. One version of the story is that Gaudí became ill in 1909 and the project was unable to continue without his involvement. Another popular version of events is that since the hotel was meant to be a playground for the wealthy, Gaudí pulled out of the project since it conflicted with his communist ideals.

Although it never graced the NYC skyline, Hotel Attraction lived on in a sense. It was featured in an alternate universe version of New York City on the TV series “Fringe.” Additionally, an updated version of the Gaudí design was submitted by architect and artist Paul Laffoley during the international memorial competition for redesigns of New York’s former World Trade Center site.

Hotel Attraction on “Fringe” (courtesy Fox)

Both visions give us an idea of what the skyline might have looked like if things had gone a different way — at the very least, the neighborhood would have had one more architectural masterpiece to brag about, among many! 

Related articles

The Word Is Out: Downtown’s Coolest Coffee Hall Houses a Secret Immersive Production
The Word Is Out: Downtown’s Coolest Coffee Hall Houses a Secret Immersive Production

Conwell Coffee Hall is actually part of “Life and Trust,” a theatrical production from Emursive Productions.

At Alamo’s Press Room Bar, Movie History Is Always “Coming Soon”
At Alamo’s Press Room Bar, Movie History Is Always “Coming Soon”

Alamo Drafthouse's in-house bar is a trip through movie history.

Attention, Design Fans: The Hippest Party in NYC Is in Lower Manhattan This Month
Attention, Design Fans: The Hippest Party in NYC Is in Lower Manhattan This Month

Kick off NYCxDesign week on May 16 at Mercer Labs.