This is Not: a Landfill

For eleven dollars a month, most St. Louis residents can have the city’s refuse division pick up their trash, yard waste and recycling every week. However, this service is not available for many residential areas surrounding the Pruitt-Igoe site. Consequently, not only has the site become a dumping ground for a low density neighborhood, it has also become the destination for rubble from demolished buildings in the city. While cleaning the site is one step towards making it an accessible, public space, the complete elimination of debris would only perpetuate the pattern of displacement and neglect that is the recurring history of the site.

Instead of rejecting this process, why not embrace the act of depositing as a means of transforming the site for the future?

Our project proposes reconfiguring the landscape to better regulate where and how materials are left on the site. Over time, this reorganization creates a varied topography that allows certain areas to become recreational spaces. Two types of structures coordinate these activities. First is the addition of new mounds composed of rubble and covered with soil and ground cover. The placement of these mounds derives from existing piles of rubble embedded into the earth and this network can expand to accommodate large-scale demolition in the city. Scattered within the park are bin structures in which the community can drop off daily trash and recyclable materials to be picked up by the city. Larger bins will receive deposits such as rubble, yard waste, and other organic matter that can remain on-site. Ultimately, whether resulting in a mound or bin, the act of forming layered ecologies over time by accumulating deposits will create a texturally rich environment that reveals the outcomes of the process of dumping usually buried in landfills.