PXSTL Public Charrette Tuesday, July 30

Meet the finalists in Grand Center lot redesign

“LightHearted,” an installation in New York’s Times Square by Freecell Architecture, one of three finalists in the PXSTL competition. Photo courtesy of Freecell Architecture.

The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts and the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University invite the public to meet three finalists in PXSTL — a collaborative design-build competition that will transform a vacant lot in the heart of Grand Center — from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, July 30.

The PXSTL Public Charrette will take place at 3713 and 3719 Washington Blvd., across the street from the Pulitzer building. The three finalists are Freecell Architecture, Rebar with Liz Ogbu and Oscar Tuazon.

Each will present design concepts; explore the role of the arts and culture in building dynamic communities; and engage the public through both casual conversation and a moderated question-and-answer session (beginning at 8:15 p.m.).

In addition, attendees will be invited to provide written feedback, which then will factor into jury deliberations about the winning project.

Food truck Cha Cha Chow will be on site during the event. The evening also will include complimentary beer and water.

For more information about the event, contact Pulitzer programs coordinator Philip Matthews at pmatthews@pulitzerarts.org or (314) 446-2057.

Pictured is the PXSTL site on Washington Boulevard. Photo is provided courtesy of The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts.


PXSTL is an acronym that stands for the Pulitzer, Sam Fox School and St. Louis. Accompanying the commission will be 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.

The winning candidate, to be selected in late summer by a panel comprising 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 on the empty lot during the summer of 2014.

The competition expands upon the reconception of Grand Center, which began in 1980 and continues through the present. A direct outgrowth of the Pulitzer and the Sam Fox School’s shared commitment to rethinking the future of St. Louis, PXSTL builds upon the city’s long tradition of site-specific projects and temporary installations informing subsequent development.

About the finalists

Freecell Architecture: Founded by collaborators Lauren Crahan and John Hartmann, Freecell creates site-specific, three-dimensional constructs that transform and question the use and perception of space. Their drawings, installations and furniture address issues of scale, movement and environment. Interested in aesthetics, craft and production, Freecell works to find a balance between the functional and experimental, testing materials and prototypes in their studio workshop. Freecell’s work strives to not only provide a solution to a need, but also to expand understanding of objects and space. Their project “Spontaneous Interventions” was part of the 2012 Venice Biennale, and comprised 124 pull-down banners that showed examples of urban interventions.

Rebar: Founded by John Bela and Blaine Merker in 2005, Rebar’s approach is marked by experimentation and play. From brainstorming new ways to engage communities to developing the next generation of urban infrastructure, Rebar is working to push the boundaries of innovative design. Their work in public spaces is responsive to ecological factors, social conditions and opportunities for future creative growth. Rebar projects include Reclaim Market in San Francisco, Capitol Riverfront Public Realm in Washington, D.C., and Bubbleway in Sydney, Australia. For PXSTL, Rebar is joined by Liz Ogbu, a designer and social innovation strategist who has been engaged in a variety of community-based projects focused on social and environmental change.

Oscar Tuazon: Tuazon’s work primarily focuses on sculpture and site-specific installations that question and explore ideas of structure, architecture and built environment. Using industrial materials such as steel, concrete, glass and wood, his projects examine the limits and inherent tenuousness of engineering and construction and how they ultimately relate back to the body and the subjective experience. Tuazon has exhibited throughout the United States and internationally. Several notable large-scale, site-specific installations include “People,” an exhibition commissioned by the Public Art Fund (2012) featuring three new sculptures made out of natural and industrial material in Brooklyn Bridge Park, New York, and “For Hire,” a stand-alone structure meant to be rearranged and repurposed. “For Hire” was exhibited at the 2012 Whitney Biennial and was transformed into a fashion runway used by Biennial artist K8 Hardy.

Media contacts:

Becky E. Adamietz-Deo
Manager of Communications
The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts
(314) 446-2053/ (314) 974-5090 (cell)

Liam Otten
Director, Arts and Features
Public Affairs
Washington University in St. Louis
(314) 935-8494