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The Pruitt-Igoe Myth

YBCA Film & Video




By Chad Freidrichs
The Pruitt-Igoe Myth tells the devastating story of the transformation of the American city in the decades after World War II, through the lens of the infamous Pruitt-Igoe housing development and the St. Louis residents who called it home. It began as a housing marvel: Built in 1956, Pruitt-Igoe was heralded as the model public housing project of the future, "the poor man's penthouse." Two decades later, it ended in rubble, its razing an iconic event that the architectural theorist Charles Jencks famously called the death of Modernism. The footage and images of its implosion have helped to perpetuate a myth of failure, a failure that has been used to critique Modernist architecture, attack public assistance programs, and stigmatize public housing residents. The film seeks to set the historical record straight. (2011, 83 min, digital)

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