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Perhaps the most famous urban housing project was St. Louis’s Pruitt-Igoe – a paragon of modernist vision, theoretically perfect in conception, and – as a result – an unmitigated disaster for human habitation. Built in 1954, the multi-story housing was such a failure that it had to be demolished by 1972.

But here in Dunedin, we have our own monument to modernist vision. And it has survived!

Dunedin’s own Pruitt-Igoe is known as The Burns Building, and is home to the outcasts and pariahs of academia (practitioners of the Arts). While Pruitt-Igoe was unable to withstand the postmodern turn of the latter Twentieth Century, the inhabitants of The Burns Building (and in particular the long-time prior inhabitants of the fifth floor) have blissfully ignored such passing trends. Despite the lingering asbestos, the sewerage smells which waft up from the ground floor, and a design which shows all the aesthetic flair of a sheep’s arse, The Burns Building has withstood the test of time!

Today, the legacy of Pruitt-Igoe survives only in photographs and the trauma-plagued eggshell minds of its former inhabitants. But The Burns Building survives and continues to traumatise its own inhabitants to this very day.

But let these pictures speak for themselves:

Pruitt-Igoe:
Pruitt-Igoe end-on

Burns:
Burns Building end-on

Pruitt-Igoe:
Pruitt-Igoe front-centre

Burns:
Burns Building front-centre

Pruitt-Igoe:
Pruitt-Igoe back with tree

Burns:
Burns Building back with tree

Pruitt-Igoe:
Pruitt Igoe windows

Burns:
Burns Building windows

Pruitt-Igoe:
Pruitt-Igoe ends of buildings

Burns:
Burns Building ends of buildings

Pruitt-Igoe:
Pruitt Igoe boring

Burns:
Burns Building boring