My Inspiration

"Never touch the ground"

February 5, 2010

Darst Webbe

The Darst building opened in 1956 and the Webbe buildings opened in 1961

• 6 9 story towers and 1 12 and 1 8 story tower
• A completely African American community
• The St Louis Housing Authority is notorious as the city’s biggest slumlord allowing Darst Webbe to go to pot. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Missouri) November 29, 2003 Saturday Five Star Late Lift Edition]
• The Darst-Webbe complex originally contained 750 units, but at the time of demolition, only 220 of those units were occupied. Of those displaced, 96 families moved to the Clinton-Peabody housing development, while the rest found shelter at other St. Louis public housing sites[St. Louis Daily Record/St. Louis Countian (St. Louis, MO) August 14, 2003 Thursday]

• Discriminatory effect on the basis of race, familial status and gender, because it provided for so few replacement units that would be available to people that are eligible for public housing for very low-income families[St. Louis Daily Record/St. Louis Countian (St. Louis, MO)August 14, 2003 Thursday]
• African Americans occupied 95.62 percent of the neighborhood, which consisted of 78.65 percent of female-headed households with children under the age of 18 years. [St. Louis Daily Record/St. Louis Countian (St. Louis, MO)August 14, 2003 Thursday]
• Of the 560 occupied housing units, renters occupied 541 units[St. Louis Daily Record/St. Louis Countian (St. Louis, MO)August 14, 2003 Thursday]

Puitt-Igoe, St. Louis, Mo

· Completed in 1955

· 57 acres of cleared land

· Two segregated complexes one for black and one for white

· 2,870 apartments

· 33 11 story buildings

· Architecture by Leinweber, Yamasaki, and Hellmuth design firm

· Yamasaki also built the twin towers

· Built in the De-Sotto Carr neighborhood a black ghetto in an effort to revitalize the area

· The design proposals were a mixture of walk-up, high rise, and mid rise structures. (American Architectural History by Keith L. Eggener 2004)

· This proposal was to expensive so they were forced to build 33 identical 11 story elevator buildings. (American Architectural History by Keith L. Eggener 2004)

· Skip top elevators

· Glazed internal galleries to create “individual neighborhoods”

· The anchor floors hosted the garbage chutes, communal rooms, laundry facilities.

· Stairwells and corridors attracted muggers

· Ventilation was poor and nonexistent central air

· Parking and recreation facilities were inadequate

· Deliberately small apartments

· In 1956 Pruitt Igoe was desegregated and became a mainly black community

· The quality of the hardware was so poor that doorknobs and locks were broken on initial use… Windowpanes were blown from inadequate frames by wind pressure. In the kitchens, cabinets were made of the thinnest plywood possible. (American Architectural History by Keith L. Eggener 2004)

· The buildings remained vacant and the whole complex was never more that 60 percent occupied

· By the end of the 1960s Pruitt-Igoe was nearly abandoned and had deteriorated into a decaying, dangerous, crime-infested neighborhood. In 1971, Pruitt-Igoe housed only six hundred people in seventeen buildings; the other sixteen were boarded up.

· Died of social isolation

· Inadequate maintenance and increased poverty of residents

· Writers said the not meeting resident’s needs were typical of modern architecture

This is what part of Pruitt-Igoe looks like today. A bunch of planted trees and weeds.

Koyaanisqatsi- Pruitt-Igoe

January 26, 2010

Projects Purpose

To design a space that makes an individual feel as if they are at home in a time of chaos. Creating a place of comfort, protection, and functionality for someone who has lost that in their own life helps recreate balance. This space gives them the opportunity to continue doing what they love to do and inspire them to think of the possibilities. Using found items, recycled/reused goods, and with constructability in mind that this place/home can be created anywhere. We’re sharing ideas that help everyone discover better places to call home during a time of disaster.

January 25, 2010

Place to Escape

A place she can escape. Her one sanctuary where she can forget the havoc that is happening around her and focus; focus on what her mind actually sees or wants to see. She enters a glowing atmosphere shaded with shapes shadowing down below of leaves and squares. Soft angles defuse the light from above with an array of colors highlighting an area where light escapes through varies squares of uniqueness. She loosens lightly tied twine lowering down a beautiful ornate fabric--she remembers finding it under a pile of rubble covered in dust. Now, she’s alone. She sits on a crate and pulls out some paper that she’d torn from a phone book. The pages had been soaked by the rain and the ink was smudged making an acceptable surface to sketch on. A corner wall formed entirely of squares, some covered in colorful yarn and others hold objects she found that held her interest, makes the perfect place to focus. She starts to sketch…..

Makeshift Shelter

Image courtesy of:

Designed and built for Karen refugees these shelters inspire me to design with a reason. The reason, Design Like You Give a Damn, a book that I have become to love. This photo is part of a future publication of this book and helps to see how communities are created with flow. Our group which includes Hope Tilley, Charese Allen, Paris Willford, David Harrill, and me are going to create an artistic, unique shelter to inspire minds to create their own vision. We hope to create a sketch shelter in mind of creativity, use of space, and interior & exterior flow.