Pruitt-Igoe was an ambitious experiment in public housing, but despite good intentions residents felt isolated from the rest of the city and became bored without means for recreation. Crime increased and maintenance decreased at Pruitt-Igoe, casting a shadow on the complex in the eyes of the city and leading to an early death by demolition. In retrospect the project is an example of the failures of Modern Architecture; like many Modern projects, Pruitt-Igoe supplied residents with basic requirements for survival (e.g. places to eat and places to sleep) but lacked the aesthetic qualities and recreational spaces that make life worth surviving. Newspapers and reporters rumored redevelopment at the time of demolition, but forty years have passed and the site remains untouched.
MOUND is a proposal that turns the weaknesses of Pruitt-Igoe into strengths in a new development. The psychological and demographic island of Pruitt-Igoe becomes a public park for all kinds of people from all parts of the city. Former housing blocks become sloped forms in the landscape, abstracted from the mounds of rubble that filled the site after demolition and the burial mounds of native Mississippian tribes that occupied the region before French colonization. Although abstract in form, these mounds are carefully shaped as playgrounds for people of all ages and mobility. Children climb and slide on certain parts of these mountains, parents sunbathe or have picnics nearby and grandparents enjoy magnificent views of the city from higher parts of the mounds. Most importantly, these mounds represent memorials for countless childhood homes lost in the demolition and become symbolic burial mounds for the death of Modernism.