St. Louis Ecological Production Line

As one of the foremost sites in the country that speak to a “failure of modernism,” our proposal for Pruitt-Igoe serves as memorial and a beginning for the current site to be absorbed and integrated into the surrounding urban fabric.

Our proposal re-imagines the current site of Pruitt Igoe as a center for an ecological assembly line, serving as the point where plots of reclaimed land become productive ecological and economic generators for the city. Beyond urban agriculture, our proposal consists of tree nurseries and plant nurseries that capitalize on the favorable growing conditions of St. Louis to provide plantings and trees to over 13,000 acres of St. Louis parks. Aquaculture basins grow native fish an d mussels species, replenishing the native species of the Mississippi that face population threats due to new, invasive species. Drawing on St. Louis’s significance as a manufacturing and industrial heart along the Mississippi, and the 1987 plan for the Pruitt-Igoe site to become the center of an industrial warehouse complex, our ecological assembly line is the beginnings of reclaiming the land for productivity, yet its outputs are not goods, but rather the ecological effects and biodiversity of the surrounding urban fabric, and new opportunities for education and recreation for residents of St. Louis.

As a shrinking city with population and economic decline, plots of land have fallen out of use, and a slowing of industry has occurred. Our proposal for Pruitt-Igoe as an urban forest center for this assembly line allows for the reclamation of unused and vacant lots in the north to join into a green corridor that radiates from Pruitt-Igoe’s current site. The site of Pruitt-Igoe itself will be kept in its urban forest condition serving as memorial and center. Vacant houses north of the site can be repurposed for educational and recreational facilities as part of the productive green corridor.

The demolition of Pruitt-Igoe signaled the end of modernism, and as we see it, the beginnings of an ecological urbanism that is the driver of economic and social upswing. Rather than close ended social engineering through architecture, our proposal designs and sets forth new sets of possibilities, allowing for flexible use and a multifaceted set of outputs.