Are you having trouble getting started or making progress on the Architect Exam?!?? Is the self-guided nature of the ARE not working for you?
Join our virtual study group. The ARE Boot Camp offers a syllabus, a schedule with deadlines, people to study with, and accountability. To help you study for the Architect Exam, the program is organized similarly to a design studio.
We recently started accepting applications for sessions that are beginning in March and April 2018 for both ARE 4.0 and 5.0. It's time to get started with making progress on the Architect Registration Exam.
When I was a boy I used to frequently sat in the back seat travelling between my Parents house in Fairfield, Connecticut to visit my Grandparents in Nassau County, Long Island. My favorite part of the car ride was always going through the Bronx between where the NYC Transit buses were parked to the Throgs Neck Bridge. There was always a lot to see driving through the Bronx in the mid 80’s but I was always most mesmerized with the presence of seeing the enormous towers of Co-op City.
Co-op City is a small part of the Bronx that consists of 35 residential high-rise towers. The towers sit in an open green space, sandwiched between 2 major highways. Looking back I think what I was so fascinated about was how mysterious these enormous towers packed with apartments looked so lonely and lifeless. They stood like giant filing cabinets filled with apartments. On the smaller scale, the streets never felt comfortable or like there was much life or community.
Many years later in architecture school learned that Co-op City was modeled after a popular (yet controversial) modern design concept called “The Tower in the Park.” The idea is to get away from the horizontal urban street with residential on both sides and to essentially recreate a street environment vertically inside a high-rise tower. This major benefit frees the ground level for park spaces and giving the residents adequate space to move around the towers. Where the tower in the park idea failed miserably is that it relies heavily social programs to build community due to the spatial disconnection between the apartments, the ground plane and even how Residents interact with each other.
I became interested in Pruit-Igoe when I was studying of the Architect Registration exam. Pruit-Igoe was a housing project built during the 1950’s in St. Louis to resolve the slum housing issues in the inner city. The city of St. Louis used eminent domain to acquire the property of a large slum housing district to build 33 high-rise low-income housing. By 1972 the Pruit-Igoe towers had fallen into such neglect and become such a dangerous place that the Housing Authority of St. Louis demolished all the towers only 18 years after they were built.
When I was studying, I read an excellent article called Defensible Space by Oscar Newman. Defensible Space is like a cookbook for help designers create urban environments that fosters safety and community, rather than the opposite. The first chapter of Defensible Space takes a good look at Pruit-Igoe, the tower in the park idea, urban design and the rest of the article discusses how urban design can influence the psychology of the residents interacting with the environments.
The movie Pruit-Igoe Myth (released in 2011) really does a beautiful job of telling the story of Pruit-Igoe. What happened in St. Louis was really the perfect storm with many unique factors all working independently to the rise of fall of Pruit-Igoe. The movie takes a very holistic view at how the architecture, the Housing Authority of St. Louis, the City of St. Louis, racial tension, the rise of the suburbs, the Police, a declining St Louis population and lastly the residents all played their own unique role in this unbelievable story.
If you enjoyed this post, you should also check out:
- Lebbeus Woods & 8 Diagrams About the Future
- Rem Koolhaas: A kind of Architect
- Antoine Predock: Architecture is my Religion
- A Daily Dose of Architecture
- Segrada Familia Finished – 3d Visualization video
- MIT Chapel – My Favorite Place #ArchiTalks
- The 1905 Lewis and Clark Exposition
- The Great Architectural Disaster Known as Penn Station