Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pruitt Igoe

Many of us seem to be fascinated by and even cynical regarding faulty utopic dreams, failed projects, & decrepit buildings. One of the things that drew me to St Louis initially was the abandoned buildings. I have been photographing ruins for years. But after learning more about the city, the fallen buildings I once romanticized have more of a sinister presence in my mind.

I first learned about Pruitt-Igoe (a former utopic St Louis housing project) in an art history class in college. Its history fascinated me. I used as the subject of an essay I wrote about the failures of modernist architecture in regards to humanism in urban development. If that subject interests you I suggest looking up more, there are quite a few fascinating essays that were much more coherent than mine.

Since it's demolition in the 1970s, Pruitt-Igoe is now a large empty plot that resembles a wildlife refuge in the heart of North St Louis. Here's a clip form Koyaanisqatsi, a documentary and a fun Le Courbusier video.

For delightment play all 3 simultaneously.

If you have even a vague interest in historic & abandoned buildings, I suggest checking out the Ecology of Absence website. The site examines the fate of historical buildings throughout St Louis and includes some information on Pruitt Igoe.

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