Architecture + Film

Architecture + Film



When one of the 33 buildings of Missouri's Pruitt-Igoe public housing complex collapsed, some called it the death of the "city of the future." Others, however, never saw its appeal, calling it instead a “dumping ground” that was doomed to fail from the start.

The documentary The Pruitt-Igoe Myth (running time 83 minutes, view trailer) follows the story of Pruitt-Igoe, a public housing development in St. Louis. Upon its completion in 1954, hopefuls believed the complex to be a solution to inner city overcrowding. It was a grandiose project that advertised family life and neighborhood-style living in a high rise. But the project quickly became a source of problems and dispute.

Despite the creation of large-scale public housing as a solution to the city’s problems, Pruitt-Igoe lacked proper funding and its image rapidly became one of despair. Twenty years after its opening, the development was deemed unlivable and was destroyed in a dramatic and highly-publicized implosion. The Pruitt-Igoe Myth explores the social, economic and legislative issues that led to the decline of public housing in America, while tracing the personal and poignant narratives of several of the project's residents.


A presentation by Harvey Gantt will precede the screening. Gantt is co-founder of Gantt Huberman Architects and a former two-term mayor of Charlotte. During his tenure in Charlotte politics, Gantt placed a great deal of emphasis on planning, inner city revitalization and housing. One of his primary focuses has been encouraging activist roles for architects in shaping public policy. From 1995 to 2000, Gantt served as chairman of the National Capital Planning Commission.


An event reception with cash bar and free light bites begins at 6 p.m. in the Bechtler lobby followed by the presentation and film screening at 7 p.m in the auditorium.


Tickets are $10 for non-members and $8 for members. Purchase online, by phone 704.353.9200 or at the visitor services desk.

The Bechtler’s Architecture + Film series is developed in conjunction with AIA Charlotte.

Image: Implosion of a Pruitt-Igoe building. Photo courtesy of St Louis Post-Dispatch/State Historical Society of Missouri

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ex © 2018 Bechtler Museum of Modern Art All images and content copyright. All rights reserved. Credits: Design: MODE. Artwork Photography: JoAnn Sieburg-Baker, David Ramsey General Photography: Eric Bahrs, Mitchell Kearney, Gary O'Brien, Nancy Pierce, Maxim Vakhovskiy Copywriting: Pam Davis Charlotte Skyline Photo: courtesy of Visit Charlotte School of Paris: John Boyer (Copy), MODE (Design)
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