Heather Dunbar age: not disclosed
Xiaowei Wang age: 26
The 1970s demolition of Pruitt-Igoe, the St. Louis housing project, famously heralded the death of Modernism. Heather Dunbar and Xiaowei Wang envisioned a new use for the largely vacant 33-acre site with their winning entry in a 2012 competition called Pruitt Igoe Now. In a nod to a 1987 plan to build an industrial warehouse on the site, the students designed an ecological assembly line, with tree and plant nurseries that could supply city parks with greenery, and aquaculture basins to grow fish that could resupply the Mississippi River. They linked their design into surrounding areas to create a green corridor in the city.
“We see the project as radically different from Modernist schemes where planning was top-down, and a reiteration of the new role of an architect as a designer of systems. While there’s an increasing division of labor in the design professions, what we can offer is a vision, and a systems-based approach to urban design. We see this approach as negotiating policy and social and ecological concerns through the design of spatial form that allows for growth and change.” —Dunbar and Wang