Pruitt Igoe: the rubbles of a demolished modernist ideal turned into an accidental urban forest, a dense neighbourhood turned into a site for dumping fill, a constant urban flux.
Today the site sits within a wider narrative of decay and disappearance affecting the city. A process which relates to the current condition of many of the city’s buildings, in the area. The process of decay has left many houses in the state of no return. They have become easy targets for a group known as the the brick thieves. Amidst the growing awareness and the tightening regulations towards their illegal activities, many of the city’s vacant blocks are being taken down overnight and eventually sent out of the city.This process of demolition and displacement of local brick houses is overtaking preservation and restoration in a city where once was famous for being a large exporter of bricks in the region.
We imagine a responsive and changing territory that has the capacity to adopt and influence the ongoing processes and changes that are shaping the city, blurring the boundaries between acts of decay and restoration, demolition and reconstruction. We propose a brickyard which will act as a catalyst in the mass displacement of bricks in the area.
Respecting the nature of the site, the Brickyard will inhabit areas with less vegetation density along the two main access routes. It will allow a ground for the salvaged bricks from the decaying building to be stored, repaired and redistributed in the city, supporting an existing community attempt that has initiated the restoration of St. Louis city blocks. The site will also provide a place where local restoration activities can be organized at large. It will also have the potential to house small scale brick making and pottery workshops, celebrating the rich clay of St. Louis.