RE: Pruitt-Igoe

yet, another architecture of Modernity. 2014

“Modern Architecture died in St. Louis, Missouri on July 15, 1972 at 3.32 pm (or thereabouts) when the infamous Pruitt Igoe scheme, or rather several of its slab blocks, were given the final coup de grâce by dynamite.”

Charles Jencks

This project is a “critical” answer to a theoretical question: is there any continuity between modernism and the fluid digital architectrue?

 

1. According to Clement Greenberg, the general ideology behind modernism resides in “the use of characteristic methods of a discipline to criticize the discipline itself, not in order to subvert it but in order to entrench it more firmly in its area of competence.” 

 

2. Main thesis of this project is that such a disciplinary and evolutive conception of language is easily found both in “modern architecture” and some expressions of “digital architecture” (such as Parametricism). In fact, they both share an ideological take on the concepts of “Autonomy”, “Medium Specificity”, “Visibility” and  “Materiality”.

3. Although the shapes  are different, some of the “digital” and modernism seem to be based on ideologically similar conditions that can be understtod through the adoption of Greenberg's concepts. Medium Specificity: space. Autonomy: architecture as a formal discipline. Opticality: the importance of the experience of space. Materiality: the use of technology in “Zeitgeisty” way.

4.This project is dystopian reconstruction of Pruitt-Igoe: the place where Charles Jencks decreed the death of Modernism

 

5. In this new Pruitt-Igoe, Modernism is reborn in its most ideological aspects mixing the formal languages of the digital and modern architecture in a sort of assemblage of formal typologies.

 

5. This project is a mental place, it isn’t thought as a real urban design: is atheoretical speculation a\bout architecture, its language(s) and its ideologies.

 

6. Ultimately, this project is a scene of war between different formalisms.