This is the museum housing an art collection of the founder family of the Pulitzer Prize. The site is situated in downtown St. Louis in the central part of United States. The area has been suffering serious devastation due to suburban development over the past years. The museum will occupy a corner of a cultural zone that the Pulitzers have been taking a leading part in its redevelopment, in anticipation that it might become a cultural anchor of community revival. After looking into the environment of the site and the program required, we have decided to conceive the project as a gallery of contemporary art equipped with scales and characteristics of a residence.
Here the main focus was placed on the openings – carefully designed and arranged at appropriate proportions within a structure of the simplest form. This is a result of emphasizing the sublimation of space based on geometrical manipulations by contrarily limiting the elements of architecture.
The building consists of a set of two rectangular volumes having identical width of 24 feet (7.3 meters) and length of 216 feet and 204 feet respectively, arranged parallel to one another with a water court of the same width in between. The two volumes are different in height: the taller one encloses a double height (measuring 24 feet high) main gallery, and the lower one – having one level less than the former – accommodates the entrance hall, a library, various rooms for administration and research, and a roof top garden. The blank space caused by the difference of length of the volumes is roofed by deep eaves. It serves as an entrance to the museum and a lounge linking the two volumes. External spaces such as the water court, the rooftop garden, and terraces facing them keep a continuity with the gallery inside. Both spaces are regarded as a place of modern art exhibition. The indoor exhibition rooms adopt natural light to intensify the continuity with the outdoors. It is expressed as a space that breathes into Nature, displaying its changing facets as time and seasons pass by.
Artist such as Ellsworth Kelly and Richard Serra, whose works are to be included in the museum’s collection, have been participating in this project from the start. Planning involved an exchange of ideas and propositions regarding the museum between architects and artists. Opinions often collided, imposing a temporary halt of the project, but cooperation with these artists proved to be extremely important when dealing with essential issues of the museum.
It is my wish that the place would constantly arouse active dialogues among the museum, the works of art, the artists, and the visitors.