Pruitt-Igoe: The Forest of Floating Minds

Our team is submitting two projects, with a single board for each. The second project is called ‘THE FOREST OF FLOATING MINDS’: The Forest of Pruitt-Igoe is filled with collective memories in layers of time and space.

One day the Forest erupts – and the earth are raised by faceless minds to create Floating Forest to retrieve their lost identities – The aim of the project is to preserve the peculiar history and memory of the site together with its unique beauty of the current “Forbidden Forest”, and at the same time to envision a New Identity for the future. Existing vegetation covering the footprints of the former Pruitt-Igoe housing blocks will be carved out and elevated, exposing the original foundations that still exists underneath. The result is a “stepping forest” that allows multiple readings – looking from downtown it looks as if the ground was raised to form a vast “Green Arch” that rotates the axis of the Gateway Arch that dominates City of St. Louis. Viewed as a diaphanous “mound”, it may also remind people of the Native American burial grounds that were in the area and can still be found. Once inside the site and looking up, it may appear as if the “Voids” of the former apartment blocks are holding up the earth from below. The peak of the forest marks the height of the original buildings for people to re-experience their scale.

Below the forest, interior structures allow for a series of programs connected by bridges with various mixed-use functions that serve the surrounding community, educational institutions and visitors. These programs will be developed in a phased process to allow flexibility as the area reaffirms its life after 40 years.

The Floating Forest will be open to the public through a series of steps and elevators inside the structure. Minimal intervention to the grounds will be provided to allow public access to the site with an adequate circulation system and safety.

Project Team: Masayuki Sono, Yuko Sono, Ostap Rudakevych
Project Firm: Clouds Architecture Office, New York City