Analysis of The Pruitt-Igoe Myth Documentary

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URBAN HISTORY

INTRODUCTION

The Pruitt-Igoe myth documentary tells about the story of the Pruitt-Igoe public housing complex in St.

Louis, Missouri, that was opened in the mid-1950s was part of the postwardream of replacing the

slum apartments with modern, affordable high-rises, and the final decision to destroy the entire

complex in 1976.

DOCUMENTARY DETAILS

The Pruitt-Igoe Myth

2011 Film

Initial release: January 20, 2012 (New York City)

Director: Chad Freidrichs

Running time: 83 minutes

Music composed by: Benjamin Balcom

Cast: Joyce Ladner, Robert Fishman, Joseph Heathcott, more

Screenplay: Chad Freidrichs, Jaime Freidrichs

fig1:Chad Freidrichs

[ONLINE]

Availableat:http://www.documentary.org/images/magazin

e/2011/ChadFreidrichs.jpg

[Accessed 18 February 2014].

PRUITT-IGOE HOUSING

The complex was designed in the early 1950s by the firm of Leinweber, Yamasaki

& Hellmuth, and after a round or two of value engineering (where we change the

design in order to decrease the cost of a project), construction was completed in

1955..Pruitt–Igoe consisted of 33 appartments,whichwas 11 storyedon a 57-acre site in St. Louis's. The complex has 2,870 apartments whivhis one of the

largest in the country.[Larsen, Kirkendall, p. 62](3)

Fig:7 Ariel View of Pruitt-Igoe complex

File:Pruitt-Igoe 1968March03.jpg -Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. [ONLINE] Available

at:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pruitt-Igoe_1968March03.jpg. [Accessed 19 February 2014]

ARCHITECT

The architect of the project wasMinoru Yamasaki.Healso designed

the twin towers of the World Trade Centres.. He made out Pruitt-Igoe

according to the best principles of themodern movement.Itwas an

orderly plan in which cars and pedestrians were separated, ample

open spaces were provided between the blocks, andflats were

oriented in such a way to catch daylight and views.

ANALYSIS

fig2:Minoru Yamasaki

[ONLINE]

Availableat:http://www.biography.com/imported/images/Biography/Images

/Profiles/Y/Minoru-Yamasaki-37866-1-402.jpg. [Accessed 18 February

2014].

LOCATION

Pruitt–Igoe is in the U.S.city ofSt. Louis,Missouri.Thesite

is bounded by Cass Avenue on the north, on the west by

North Jefferson Avenue , on the south by Carr Street, and

on the east byNorth20th Street.

Fig:4 St. Louis Metropolitan Map

St. Louis Front Page -St. Louis Metropolitan Map. [ONLINE] Available

at:http://www.slfp.com/MetroStLouisMap.html. [Accessed 19 February 2014].

Fig:3 Pruitt-Igoe, Google Maps. [ONLINE] Available

at:https://maps.google.co.in/maps?ie=UTF-8&q=44808255154498&ei=mxMEU4eoO4_JrAeJ14CYCw&ved=0CJsBEP

wSMAs. [Accessed 19 February 2014}

This image shows the 33

rectangular buildings

that made up Pruitt and

Igoe. The 4 large

branching structures in

the foreground was the

Vaughan Public Housing

Complex.

Fig:5 Pruitt-Igoe Housing Project, St. Louis

Intercultural Urbanism » Pruitt-Igoe. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.interculturalurbanism.com/?cat=15. [Accessed 19 February 2014].

Timeline quoted fromThe MetropolitianMidwest: Policy Problems and Prospects

for Change

1936- Bartholomew ring plan published calling for redevelopment of slum belt around St.

Louis central business district.

951- Bulldozing begins for Pruitt-Igoe, the second postwarproject. Architectural

magazine acclaims design, housing authority proclaims it model for the rest of the

country.

1954- Pruitt's first tenant, Frankie Mae Raglin, moves in.

1955- First recorded accidents as two girls fall, one from seventh, one from ninth floor.

Firemen rescue children from stalled elevator.

1961-Occupancy averages only 82 percent. Crime rate highest of all city projects.

1962-State opens special Pruitt-Igoe welfare office with 45 additional caseworkers, two-thirds of households on welfare.

1964- Federal program launched to repair damage and create four- and fivebedroom

apartments out of the smaller, unoccupied Pruitt-Igoe units, $5 million new grant.

1966- Power failures become commonplace. Gas explosion, several central heating system

breakdowns damage buildings and tenants' possessions, water supply freezes, pipes burst.

1968- Housing Authority director requests federal takeover or abandonment because of

fiscal crisis. Massive rent increases force some occupants to pay three-fourths of income

for rent.

1969- Pruitt-Igoe tenants join with other public housing tenants in nation’s longest public

housing rent strike-nine months. At one time 28 of 34 elevators were inoperable, other

systems were in comparable states.

1970- Sixty-five percent of Pruitt-Igoe units unoccupied. Deliverymen, messengers, and

maintenance personnel refuse to enter the project without guards...Citing an expected

$400,000 operating deficit and dwindling demand, SLHA announces intention of closing

down many buildings.

1971- HUD concurs with closing plans. Remaining tenants moved to 11 buildings.

1972-Demolition experiment 16 March with controlled dynamite charges level three

buildings in middle of project, $500,000 federal demonstration grant.

1973- St. Louis Housing Authority decides in June to cease operating Pruitt-Igoe. HUD

announces in August the decision to demolish Pruitt-Igoe.

1974- Last tenant moves out in May.

1976- Final razing completed, $3.5 million HUD grant pays the wreckers.

TIMELINE

Fig:5 [Timeline - A Failure in Public Housing: TheStory of Pruitt-Igoe. [ONLINE] Available

at:http://52193861.nhd.weebly.com/timeline.html. [Accessed 19 February 2014].

The Pruitt–Igoe complex composed of

33 buildings of 11 stories each on the

North Side of St. Louis, Missouri

Fig:6 Site plan, courtesy:roger montgomery

[ONLINE] Available at:http://www.pruitt-igoe.com/temp/1991-bristol-pruitt-igoemyth.pdf. [Accessed 19 February 2014].

Fig:9 Vandalized-windows.

File:Pruitt-Igoe-vandalized-windows.jpg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

[ONLINE] Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pruitt-Igoe-vandalized-windows.jpg. [Accessed 19 February 2014].

broken-out windows of pruit

igoe building

Fig:10 Diagramaticsection of skip-stop elevator,courtesy:roger

montgomery[ONLINE] Available

at:http://www.pruitt-igoe.com/temp/1991-bristol-pruitt-igoemyth.pdf [Accessed 19 February 2014].

CONCLUSION

Chad Freidrichs’ “The Pruitt-Igoe Myth” doesn’t offer easy conclusions. It

does raise the question of how, and why, this idealistic answer to

overcrowding so quickly morphed into a symbol of inner-city crime and

filth, and how big a part racism played —and continues to play —in the

construction and management of public housing.

The lecture by Dr.SuchitraBalasubrahmanianalso tells us about the space

organized according to product and occupation basis.Likethe places

being divided on racial basis in St Louis the ahmedabadwas divided on

the basis of cast(muslims,dalitsand the upper caste).Muslim chawls

separated from Hindu chawls.Ahmedabadseemed to be safe due to the

gandhianlayer,the landscape of mill culture..butthe idea of

borders,sociallysegregated spaces on the basis of

identiy(saree,bindhi,burkafor women and beard for men) and basis of

caste increased the unsafety in ahmedabad.

REFERENCES

(1)."Why the Pruitt-Igoe housing project failed".Prospero(blog). The Economist. October 15, 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-17.

[ONLINE] Available at:http://www.economist.com/blogs/prospero/2011/10/american-public-housing[Accessed 18 February 2014].

(2).Bristol, Katharine (2004). "The Pruitt–Igoe myth". American Architectural History: A Contemporary Reader

(3). Larsen, Lawrence Harold; Kirkendall, Richard Stewart (2004). A History of Missouri: 1953 to 2003. University of Missouri Press.

{A History of Missouri: 1953 to 2003 - Google Books. [ONLINE] Available at:http://books.google.co.in/books?id=0Pc-wvtps7YC&pg=PA61&dq=Pruitt-Igoe&hl=en#v=onepage&q=Pruitt-Igoe&f=false[Accessed 18 February 2014].}

(4).Rowan moore,Pruitt-Igoe: death of an American housing dream (Sunday 26 feb 2012)| Art and design | The Observer. [ONLINE]

Available at:http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2012/feb/26/pruitt-igoe-myth-film-review[Accessed 19 February 2014].

fig 1:Chad Freidrichs, [ONLINE]

Available at:http://www.documentary.org/images/magazine/2011/ChadFreidrichs.jpg[Accessed 18 February 2014].

Fig:3:Minoru Yamasaki

[ONLINE] Availableat:http://www.documentary.org/images/magazine/2011/ChadFreidrichs.jpg[Accessed 18 February 2014].

Fig:3 Pruitt-Igoe, Google Maps. [ONLINE]

Availableat:https://maps.google.co.in/maps?ie=UTF8&q=44808255154498&ei=mxMEU4eoO4_JrAeJ14CYCw&ved=0CJsBEPwSM

As. [Accessed 19 February 2014}

Fig:4 St. Louis Metropolitan Map

St. Louis Front Page -St. Louis Metropolitan Map. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.slfp.com/MetroStLouisMap.html. [Accessed 19

February 2014].

Fig:5 [Timeline - A Failure in Public Housing: TheStory of Pruitt-Igoe. [ONLINE] Available

at:http://52193861.nhd.weebly.com/timeline.html. [Accessed 19 February 2014].

Fig:6 Site plan, courtesy:rogermontgomery

[ONLINE] Available at: http://www.pruitt-igoe.com/temp/1991-bristol-pruitt-igoemyth.pdf. [Accessed 19 February 2014].

Fig:7 Ariel View of Pruitt-Igoe complex

File:Pruitt-Igoe 1968March03.jpg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. [ONLINE] Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pruitt-Igoe_1968March03.jpg. [Accessed 19 February 2014]

Fig:8 April 1972. The second, widely televised demolition of a Pruitt–Igoe building that followed the March 16 demolition. File:Pruitt-igoe collapse-series.jpg - Wikimedia Commons. [ONLINE] Available at:http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pruitt-igoe_collapse-series.jpg[Accessed 19 February 2014].

Fig:9 Vandalized-windows.

File:Pruitt-Igoe-vandalized-windows.jpg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. [ONLINE] Available

at:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pruitt-Igoe-vandalized-windows.jpg. [Accessed 19 February 2014].

Fig:10 Diagramaticsection of skip-stop elevator,courtesy:rogermontgomery[ONLINE] Available at: http://www.pruitt-igoe.com/temp/1991-bristol-pruitt-igoemyth.pdf [Accessed 19 February 2014].

REFERENCES

(1)."Why the Pruitt-Igoe housing project failed".Prospero(blog). The Economist. October 15, 2011. Retrieved

2011-10-17.

[ONLINE] Available at:http://www.economist.com/blogs/prospero/2011/10/american-public-housing

[Accessed 18 February 2014].

(2).Bristol, Katharine (2004). "The Pruitt–Igoe myth". American Architectural History: A Contemporary Reader

(3). Larsen, Lawrence Harold; Kirkendall, Richard Stewart (2004). A History of Missouri: 1953 to 2003.

University of Missouri Press.

{A History of Missouri: 1953 to 2003 -Google Books. [ONLINE] Available

at:http://books.google.co.in/books?id=0Pc-wvtps7YC&pg=PA61&dq=Pruitt-Igoe&hl=en#v=onepage&q=Pruitt-Igoe&f=false[Accessed 18 February 2014].}

(4).Rowan moore,Pruitt-Igoe: death of an American housing dream (Sunday 26 feb2012)| Art and design |

The Observer. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2012/feb/26/pruitt-igoe-myth-film-review[Accessed 19 February 2014].

fig 1:Chad Freidrichs, [ONLINE]

Available at:http://www.documentary.org/images/magazine/2011/ChadFreidrichs.jpg[Accessed 18

February 2014].

Fig:3:Minoru Yamasaki

[ONLINE] Availableat:http://www.documentary.org/images/magazine/2011/ChadFreidrichs.jpg[Accessed

18 February 2014].

Fig:3 Pruitt-Igoe, Google Maps. [ONLINE]

Availableat:https://maps.google.co.in/maps?ie=UTF8&q=44808255154498&ei=mxMEU4eoO4_JrAeJ14C

YCw&ved=0CJsBEPwSMAs. [Accessed 19 February 2014}

Fig:4 St. Louis Metropolitan Map

St. Louis Front Page -St. Louis Metropolitan Map. [ONLINE] Available

at:http://www.slfp.com/MetroStLouisMap.html[Accessed 19 February 2014].

Fig:5 [Timeline -A Failure in Public Housing: TheStory of Pruitt-Igoe. [ONLINE] Available

at:http://52193861.nhd.weebly.com/timeline.html. [Accessed 19 February 2014].

Fig:6 Site plan, courtesy:rogermontgomery

[ONLINE] Available at: http://www.pruitt-igoe.com/temp/1991-bristol-pruitt-igoemyth.pdf [Accessed 19

February 2014].

Fig:7 Ariel View of Pruitt-Igoe complex

File:Pruitt-Igoe 1968March03.jpg -Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. [ONLINE] Available

at:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pruitt-Igoe_1968March03.jpg. [Accessed 19 February 2014]

Fig:8 April 1972. The second, widely televised demolition of a Pruitt–Igoe building that followed the March

16 demolition. File:Pruitt-igoe collapse-series.jpg - Wikimedia Commons. [ONLINE] Available

at:http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pruitt-igoe_collapse-series.jpg[Accessed 19 February 2014].

Fig:9 Vandalized-windows.

File:Pruitt-Igoe-vandalized-windows.jpg -Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. [ONLINE] Available

at:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pruitt-Igoe-vandalized-windows.jpg. [Accessed 19 February 2014].

Fig:10 Diagramaticsection of skip-stop elevator,courtesy:rogermontgomery[ONLINE] Available

at:http://www.pruitt-igoe.com/temp/1991-bristol-pruitt-igoemyth.pdf [Accessed 19 February 2014].

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