Some places record the rise and fall of a significant building, or evoke historical events that took place there. Others, like the site where the notorious St. Louis public housing complex known as Pruitt-Igoe once stood, serve less as memorials than material imprints of loss and unresolved histories.
Michael R. Allen & Heidi Aronson Kolk
Michael R. Allen is senior lecturer in Architecture and Landscape Architecture and lecturer in American Culture Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, as well as director of the Preservation Research Office. Allen created and managed the Pruitt Igoe Now competition (2011-2012) with Nora Wendl. Allen’s current research concerns historic preservation and narratives of American nationalism, and the politics of inhabitation rights in the contemporary American city.
Heidi Aronson Kolk is a cultural historian whose research and teaching focuses on American material and visual culture, space and place, cultural heritage, and the politics of memory. She is author of a forthcoming book, Taking Possession: Life, Death and the Politics of Memory in a St. Louis Town House (2019, University of Massachusetts Press) and serves as Assistant Professor in the Sam Fox School of Design + Visual Arts, and also Assistant Vice Provost of Academic Assessment, both at Washington University in St. Louis.
Posts by Michael R. Allen & Heidi Aronson Kolk
The story of Delyte Morris and the Southern Illinois University he created is what Robert A. Harper calls “a story of unlikely success and a tragic end.” It does read like an American tragedy, somehow, based in a rustic start, ambition, ingenuity, and the fallibility of good intentions.