“Pruitt-Igoe has lived on symbolically as an icon of failure. Liberals perceive it as exemplifying the government's appalling treatment of the poor. Architectural critics cite it as proof of the failure of high-rise public housing for families with children. One critic even asserted that its destruction signaled the end of the modern style of architecture.” — Alexander von Hoffman, Joint Center for Housing Studies, Harvard Univ.
December 16, 2012 (Raleigh, NC) -- Triangle Modernist Houses’ Nowell’s Architecture Movie Series continues in January with a special screening of “The Pruitt-Igoe Myth” on Thursday, January 10, at 7:30 p.m. in the Raleigh Grande.
Pruitt–Igoe was a 33-building urban housing project in St. Louis, Missouri, designed by architect Minoru Yamasaki, who also designed the former World Trade Center towers. It was named for Wendell O. Pruitt, an African-American fighter pilot in World War II, and William L. Igoe, former U.S. Congressman. Costing $36 million, 60 percent above the national average for public housing at the time, the design was heralded as a transformative tool for the disadvantaged; the architects and city planners sold the project to the public on the belief that good design would make a hugely positive difference in people’s lives.
However, living conditions in Pruitt–Igoe began to decline very soon after completion in 1956. By the late 1960s, the complex was internationally infamous for its poverty, crime, and segregation. At 3 p.m. on March 16, 1972, the Pruitt-Igoe complex was destroyed in a dramatic and highly publicized implosion, and it became a symbol of urban renewal and public-policy planning failure among architects, politicians, and policy makers.
“Pruitt-Igoe has lived on symbolically as an icon of failure,” wrote Alexander von Hoffman for the Joint Center for Housing Studies, Harvard University. “Liberals perceive it as exemplifying the government's appalling treatment of the poor. Architectural critics cite it as proof of the failure of high-rise public housing for families with children. One critic even asserted that its destruction signaled the end of the modern style of architecture.”
Directed by Chad Freidrichs, "The Pruitt-Igoe Myth" documentary explores the social, economic, and legislative issues that led to the decline of conventional public housing nationally while tracing the several of the project's residents’ narratives. To view a trailer of "The Pruitt-Igoe Myth," go to www.trianglemodernisthouses.com/movies.
Sponsored by Blueplate PR, the documentary will be screened at the Raleigh Grande, located at 4840 Grove Barton Road, Raleigh NC 27613, just off Lynn Road and Glenwood Avenue/Highway 70 West (919-226-2012). Series sponsors include Modern Home Auctions, GoRealty, The Kitchen Specialist, Carrington Electric, and VMZINC.
Individual admission is $9 per person per film, available at the door. Mod Squad members are admitted free. Proceeds benefit Triangle Modernist Houses’ ongoing mission of documenting, preserving, and promoting modernist residential architecture.
The last film of this year’s series is "Eames: The Architect and The Painter" on February 7. For more information on TMH, visit www.trianglemodernisthouses.com.
About Triangle Modernist Houses:
Triangle Modernist Houses (TMH) is a 501C3 nonprofit established in 2007 and dedicated to restoring and growing Modernist architecture in the Triangle. The award-winning website, now the largest educational and historical archive for Modernist residential design in America, continues to catalog, preserve, and advocate for North Carolina Modernism. TMH also hosts popular Modernist house tours several times a year, giving the public access to the Triangle's most exciting residential architecture, past and present. These tours raise awareness and help preserve these "livable works of art" for future generations. Visit the website at www.trianglemodernisthouses.com. TMH also has an active community on Facebook.