While on a business trip to St. Louis, we wanted to visit The Pulitzer Foundation of the Arts, one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever been to and designed by one of my favorite architects, Tadao Ando, who lives and practices in Osaka, Japan.
This art museum, commissioned by Emily and Joseph Pulitzer, is his first freestanding public building in the United States and it is in the Grand Central district of St. Louis.
Ando is known for his exceptionally crafted concrete and this is no exception. This building took four years to construct to getting the concrete just right and to the architect's desired level of polish. Glass and concrete, that's pretty much it.
The attention to detail is what makes this building so unconsciously magnificent. If you look closely, the seams in the concrete line up with the seams of the windows and even the seams in the mechanical grating throughout the building. The stair balustrade is made of glass and meets the concrete treads very cleanly, a testament to the relationship between the architecture and the craftsmanship.
Take Ando's description of his own building: "It's basically just two simple rectangles. But as you enter this simple figure or box, you discover a space that is complex and rich. Once you're inside, you learn things that could not be foreseen from the outside."
To me, this is a very humble way of describing the building but there is a lot of truth in his statement. As is characteristic of his works, Ando creates breathtaking moments in this architecture as well. You look down a long hallway that captures a view through a window and finishes the opening with a warm toned wood that somehow coexists with concrete, materials that are generally not adjacent due to their properties. He frames a view to the outside with a third dimensional natural element of a horizon pool that draws your eye out. The light filters through the interior in a non-threatening (to the artwork) way.
The materials -- simple and clean,…Read more...