Freecell Architecture's proposal for the PXSTL Competition was recently announced one of the three finalists by the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts and the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University. Participants were asked to reimagine a vacant lot in St. Louis’ Grand Center cultural district while exploring the critical role arts and culture play in creating vibrant, growing communities. The competition aims to demonstrate how small-scale interventions can spur large-scale urban transformation, and Freecell's proposal was selected for their ability to visualize Grand Center’s long-term vitality, emphasizing community engagement, interactive elements, and cross-disciplinary collaboration among St. Louis’ many cultural organizations. More images and information after the break.
The finalists were chosen from a group of practitioners following a solicitation process from PXSTL organizers, and represent a diversity of vision, perspective, and approach. Their work in public spaces and ability to integrate principles from a variety of creative processes exemplify the cross-disciplinary focus of the project and support a robust exploration of how this type of competition can address urban challenges. The winning candidate, to be selected in early fall 2013 by a panel composed of members of the Pulitzer staff and the Sam Fox School faculty, will receive a $50,000 project budget and a $10,000 honorarium to create a temporary, largely self-sustaining construction, landscape strategy, or other similar intervention.
The competition expands upon the reconception of Grand Center, which began in 1980 and continues through the present, and explores innovative approaches to urban planning and development by 2experimenting with short-term constructions, landscaping, ephemeral media, and unexpected architectural materials and techniques. A direct outgrowth of the Pulitzer and the Sam Fox School’s shared commitment to rethinking the future of St. Louis, it builds upon the city’s long tradition of site-specific projects and temporary installations informing subsequent development. St. Louis’ 1,300-acre Forest Park still bears the stamp of the 1904 World’s Fair. The Gateway Mall, a gleam in the eye of civic planners for more than a century, today boasts Eero Saarinen’s Gateway Arch (1966), Richard Serra’s Twain (1981), and Citygarden.
PXSTL, an acronym which stands for the Pulitzer, Sam Fox School, and St. Louis, will culminate in the activation of an empty lot in the heart of Grand Center, owned by and located directly across from the Pulitzer, and be accompanied by a set of programs that invite the public to engage with the built environment and foster a dialogue about the challenges faced by evolving urban centers, innovative solutions to city growth, and the significance of community engagement and action.
Each finalist will receive an honorarium to, over the course of the summer, conduct an initial site visit, develop a full, conceptual proposal, and make a final presentation to the selection panel and community stakeholders. On July 30, the finalists will participate in a public program that provides an opportunity to present their concepts to and engage with the larger community. The program will include a formal Q&A session, invite casual conversation with the finalists during an open session on the vacant site, and offer an opportunity for visitors to provide feedback.