Minoru Yamasaki, Pruitt-Igoe Homes, St. Louis, MO, United States, 1956. Because of deteriorated condition the 33 buildings were demolished between 1972 and 1976. © US Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research, c. 1972.
Preservation and public housing in the United States






Modern Movement, Modern architecture, Modern housing, Post-war housing, Welfare architecture, Mass housing, USA modern architecture, Preservation of modern architecture, Demolition of modern architecture


Public housing is an important part of the heritage of the 20th century that deserves preservation, but is in danger of being demolished or unrecognizably altered. The United States, which saw the construction of such government sponsored projects, largely between 1930 and 1975, is no exception. In the last four decades government efforts have continued to shift towards financial incentives for private initiatives for design, construction and property management. This housing legacy, if being preserved, still needs to be improved so it can continue to serve as affordable housing in the 21st century.

How to Cite

Prudon, T. (2021). Preservation and public housing in the United States. Docomomo Journal, (65), 84–91. https://doi.org/10.52200/65.A.08I5WHU3



Author Biography

Theodore Prudon, Columbia University

FAIA FAPT, architect practicing in New York City focusing on the preservation of modern architecture. Educated at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, he received his doctorate at Columbia University in New York. He is a long-term faculty member of the Graduate Program for Historic Preservation at Columbia University. He is president of docomomo US and the author of Preservation of Modern Architecture, which received the Lee H. Nelson Book Award from the Association for Preservation Technology International.


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