On March 16, 1972, the city of St. Louis was shaken by a series of explosions. That afternoon the huge building felt to the ground with a horrible noise. The following days of that month about 30 buildings were turned into the ruins. Those damaged buildings were once a part of a housing project Pruitt-Igoe, completely infamous now.
Being opened in 1954, Pruitt-Igoe was meant to be a huge boost in the developing of the architecture in cities. The project included more than 30 high buildings and supplied the population in the city with 3000 new and comfortable apartments.
The design of the project Pruitt-Igoe was created according to the modern architecture ideas of cutting-edge. The idea meant to make an accent on the green zones and locate the citizens into towers from which they could watch the beautiful views. Such buildings had specific elevators that could stop only on the first floor, then at the fourth, the seventh, and the tenth ones. This was made to avoid the congestion inside the building. The lights in metal coverings were placed inside the building, and the huge windows were meant to provide the natural light. This project was supposed to show a high level of modern architecture and engineering.
The Great failure
The first point of trouble came from those people who decided to see if the lights are really unbreakable. They threw water on these lights and consequently, the lights were overheated and stopped functioning. In the next step the garbage chutes on the floor were damaged and then the windows shattered. As one of the reports says, the buildings had so many broken windows that the people could see through the other side.
Rental payments of the housing complex were planned to be used for the maintenance of housings. However, when the project started working, the population of the city became decreasing. The house complex had fewer residents than expected and the damages stopped being fixed. The modern design of elevators also showed its outcomes. People were forced to walk through the dangerous corridors in order to get to their apartments. More and more things were broken, and people decided to move away from the complex. Consequently, the number of financial incomes was horribly decreasing.
In 1972, the St. Louis Housing Authority took the decision about the demolishing of the housing complex Pruitt-Igoe. The project had been existing for less than 20 years, and in 1972 the whole complex was blown up.
Old ideas are underestimated
People who designed Pruitt-Igoe ignored the established rules and laws of developing architecture in cities. Every successful and growing city on the planet was created naturally, and the buildings in them appeared as needed.
There is a reason that leads people to undervalue the old ideas. At the first view, they see an idea that has been existing for a long time and decide that familiar idea could not provide an excellent result. Everybody is doing in this way, so it is not effective. However, people forget to distinguish the fundamentals from old ideas. The fundamentals are not only old ideas; they are the collection of those ideas that excluded the bad ones.
One can find lots of examples of this in different spheres of human life:
- Reading. Every year has the list of its best-selling books. However, more than half of these books will not be actual in the future as they will be defined as wrong. Only several of them will still be popular among the readers in the future. Such books that could stay at all times are filled with ideas that last. They will not lose their actuality and provide high value.
- Entrepreneurship. The simplest fundamental rule of making more sales calls can lead an entrepreneur to the success or to the failure. The secret weapon of this sphere is patiently completing one’s task as it is a competitive thing.
- Fitness. In different times, different exercise rules can rise or fall continually. New exercise styles are created with the purpose to replace the older ones and make them old-fashioned. However, there exist such fundamentals that do not change throughout different times and are always in use. To the list of such fundamentals belongs going for a walk or lifting up the weights.
The power of traditional knowledge
Not far from the complex Pruitt-Igoe was situated a traditional one, Carr Square Village. It was much lower and smaller being made with by traditional designs. It was 12 years older than its neighbor Pruitt-Igoe but considerably outlive it.
Could one say that people should abandon all innovation and stick only to traditional fundamental knowledge? The answer is definitely not. However, there should be a balance between new and old and the inherited knowledge should not be underestimated and undervalued. To build something new does not mean to reject everything that one knew before. The inherited knowledge could be a good base, a platform for further ideas. The result would always be positive if people will practice the knowledge they have.
About The Author
My name is Alexia Wolker, I am a blogger and work as an editor. I have a Master’s Degree in literature and love both reading and writing about books and literary topics. I also help students with their literary assignments – articles, essays and summaries of books like macbeth character analysis.