The top photo is of Pruitt-Igoe, a government subsidized housing complex in St. Louis. It was designed by Minoru Yamasaki, the same dude that did the World Trade Center. Mile High Pixie posted about this housing complex last June and to this day, folks are still commenting on her post. Check it out.
The second photo is a concept by Shelter Architecture called Bearden Place. In the article, they hit every single current talking point. Sustainable, affordable, passive building, you name it, they hit upon every little buzzword in the article. And just like Pruitt-Igoe, this planned development is hideous. And just look at Mr. Bespectacled Sweater Vest strolling the grounds!!!
Even though the two housing projects are vastly different in their appearance, P-I is very ambiguous looking, where the windows make the thick-fingered, clunky looking buildings appear lighter, and B-P has very few windows and becomes basically a highboy with drawers sliding out of it, they are very much the same in their delivery.
In a word, UNLIVABLE.
While talking to The Old Ball and Chain this morning, I realized one of the many, many reasons that I think developments like this fail, CONTRADICTION.
I guess you could break designers into two camps, one would be the folks that think they are creating ART, and the other would think that they are creating SPACE. Yes, I realize that there are plenty of different ways to divide the architectural profession, but this way seems to make the most sense to me.
These types of developments satisfy NEITHER camp. In other words, they are failures from the jump because they ignore the primary reason for building, protection or security. This protection can be from weather, from crime, or from NOISE. To satisfy this very basic requirement, you simply cannot shoehorn folks into a block of multi-family housing. Sorry, it is just not feasible unless the spacial requirements demand it. But, then again, I have never understood why four million people would want to live on a very small island, either.
There is another drawback to developments like this. Illustrated perfectly from a comment on Pixie's post:
The architect's intention was to promote interaction and more socializing within those open 'galleries' for the residents who lived there; not as a cost saving measure. What all of these buildings lacked a strong resident manager for each unit who could keep tight control of who belonged there and who did not.
This statement tells me everything that I need to know about the reasons for developing something as inhumane as a Pruitt-Igoe or a Bearden Place, SLAVERY. And you can delve as deeply into the theory as you want, but the bottom line is dictatorial control of the SHEEPLE who live there. The basic philosophical ideology of tenements ignores the individuality necessary for successful living. You SURRENDER your individuality for the "greater good of all." Of course, the greater good ALWAYS reduces the best to the level of the worst.
Herein lies our lesson for today. To have success in ANY society, be it Pruitt-Igoe or Nebrastenntuckysaw, you simply must have the capacity for everyone to get RICH. When you limit individuals to the pinnacle of every other person, the only thing that you promote is failure. And I am NOT going to like everyone that I meet. Certainly I do not want to be FORCED to see them every day and have to interact with them. Losers exist and they affect everything that we see, touch, think, and feel.
And then Barry Obama becomes president.
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