Built St. Louis > > Central Corridor > > Midtown > > Pulizer Foundation for the Arts

Arguably the most architecturally important new building in St. Louis for several decades, the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts stands on the former site of the Beaumont Building, demolished in 1997.

The site selection remains baffling -- numerous empty lots were available to build on, most of which remain so today. The decision to destroy the Beaumont is a black mark on the Pulitzer's history, regardless of its fine pedigree.

Designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando, the building's exterior is a blank wall, a fortress inured against the city. The serene, calming space that awaits within, however, comphensates for its anti-urban stance.

Photography is not permitted within the Foundation; instead I'm posting a few of my sketches of the interior.

The building consists of two wings behind a single front. Between them, a reflecting pond with a patio invites one to sit. In winter, a rock garden replaces the water. An upper level terrace includes a large roof planting area and an exterior deck.

Ando's interiors are typically sparse and plain. Smooth concrete surfaces invite one to run a hand across them. The art displayed within is widely spaced, distracting minimally from the experience of the space itself.

Light spills in from unexpected places, and contrasts with the darkness of unlit corners.

The serenity and beauty of the space is a relieving contrast to the default assumption that every square inch of an interior must be drowned in bright light.

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