But these images of Pruitt-Igu occupy a far less permanent

But these images of Pruitt-Igu occupy a far less permanent place in culture than images of the destruction of Pruitt-Igu, an event that-though commentators draw different political conclusions-has generally increased Americans’ fear of the kind of high-density skyscrapers now so prevalent in wealthy East Asian cities. Why was there a public housing imperative in St. Louis that spawned people like Pruitt-Igu? In the late 1940s, when the growth of American cities seemed unstoppable, officials predicted that the population would reach several million by 1970, necessitating aggressive slum clearance and high-density urban renewal. As a result, frightened white residents fled, and the entire Pruitt-Igow became an all-black residential area. Many black residents also moved to the suburbs, reducing Pruitt-Igoe’s population to those who simply had nowhere to live. Pruitt-Igoe became synonymous with the dysfunctional urban watering hole that Americans of modest means thought they could avoid by fleeing the cities during the decades of white flight after World War II. The Pruitt-Igoe public housing complex in St. Louis shortly after its completion in 1956. It took a deliberate and well-planned act of terror to destroy this example of architectural modernism, as Pruitt-Igoe found itself in a perfect storm of 20th century economic, demographic, and urban political disaster. But while Pruitt-Igow was painfully and painfully demolished in the early 1970s, a far more iconic work by Yamasaki opened: the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. Those who read the Pruitt-Igoe story as a moral play on 20th-century architectural arrogance tend to call Yamasakis’ project a winner, even though “he” won nothing. Captain WO Pruitt Homes and William L Igoe Apartments, a 33-story, 11-unit complex for the racially segregated middle class, opened with great pomp in 1954-56 in North St. Louis. If you propose a major public housing project in the United States, your opponents will almost certainly use Pruitt-Igoe as a rhetorical weapon against you and defeat you in the process. A Japanese-American architect was commissioned to design a federally-funded public housing project under the Housing Act of 1949, and “he” initially proposed a group of mixed-use buildings. Even today, when our eyes must get used to all sorts of developments that should shock us with their incongruity, aerial shots of the Pruitt-Igoe complex make us roll our eyes. I never thought people could be so destructive,” Yamasaki told Architectural Review, lamenting the vandalism that fell on Pruitt-Igoe in the 1960s. A year before the complete demolition of Pruitt-Igow, J.G. Ballard published “his” novel High Rise, which tells the story of an upper-middle-class residential neighborhood in London that almost immediately turns into a violent bacchanalia.

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