A new idea for Pruitt-Igoe
Forty years ago this July the first stage of demolition of the Pruitt-Igoe public housing project in St. Louis was completed — a seminal moment in the history of modern architecture and planning. The idea of large-scale urban renewal using superblocks and towers surrounded by undefined space mostly died with Pruitt-Igoe — and Jane Jacobs was vindicated.
Pruitt-Igoe’s land stands mostly empty to this day, and a Notre Dame graduate student — now recent alumnus Samuel Lima — came up with a thesis plan for 33 acres of the 57-acre site. The plan beautifully resolves the city’s shifting grid, bringing streets together in a central, triangular park. Compact development with architecture inspired by the city vernacular takes the place of uniform high-rises.
The site is a prime candidate for redevelopment, Lima reports: It is owned by a single entity, the city of St. Louis, which makes development easier. It is in close proximity to downtown (three-quarters of a mile from the Gateway Mall that extends west from Eero Saarinen’s Gateway Arch). Finally, three prominent bus routes serve the site.
For details on the plan below, see http://samlimaarchitecture.blogspot.com.