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James Wines - SITE


Biography

The long career of American architect and artist James Wines (1932) is indissolubly linked with the multidisciplinary organisation SITE (Sculpture in the Environment) which he founded in New York in 1970 with A. Sky, E. Sousa and M. Stone.

A sculptor since the fifties, Wines graduated from Syracuse University in 1956 and has since directed architecture projects and studies, held conferences in hundreds of university lecture halls and written numerous essays for books and magazines all over the world. His publications include De Architecture (1987) and Green Architecture (1999). 

In the film Ecological Design: Inventing the Future (1994, directed by B. Danitz), Wines explains one of the basic concepts underlying his vision of architecture, stating that “the 20th century began with architects inspired by the new era of industry and technology. (...) I can understand that this was an inspiring force in 1910, but this kind of inspiration doesn’t make any sense in today’s post-industrial world, with information and ecology”

This position also inspired the SITE project, “attributable to the radical architecture movement (...) an unconventional, impractical, anti-formal line based on concepts such as logical inversion, indeterminacy, fragmentation” (Camerana).

SITE’s experimentation is oriented toward “living” urban places such as squares, open spaces, parking lots and highways: the function of “environmental art” in relation to architecture becomes, in his work, primarily a “space for communication”, giving the discipline strong social and pedagogical connotations.

Clear examples are his popular installations at Expo ‘86 in Vancouver (with a modulated walkway featuring 20th century objects and means of transportation) and Sea and Islands Expo ‘89 in Hiroshima, where his Four Continents bridge combined different types of vegetation from different continents. Over a decade of work SITE worked on some prominent projects in buildings symbolising American consumerism, including a series of Best Products showroom with a clear deconstructivist tendency: in the Peeling Building (1971) the façade literally peels away from the structure of the building, while in a series of stores built between 1970 and 1984 the façade is lifted off the building and balances on it.

Alienating roofs that eliminate the architecture below them are another of SITE's hallmarks: in Parking Lot (1976), the pavement covers the cars, while the Forest Building (1980) is entirely covered with vegetation. Wines has won numerous awards (including the Pulitzer Price for Graphic Art in 1955), and since 1999 he has pursued an intense academic career teaching architecture at Pennsylvania State University.

James Wines - SITE famous works and projects

- Private home on tower, Mumbai (India), 2004
- Shake Shack in Madison Square Garden, New York (USA), 2004
- Plan for the Museum of Islamic Arts, Doha (Qatar), 1997
- Aquatorium, Chattanooga (USA), 1992
- Avenue Number Five, Seville (Spain), 1992
- Ross’s Landing Park and Plaza, Chattanooga (USA), 1992
- Four Continents Bridge – Installation for Expo 1989, Hiroshima (Japan), 1989
- Lauren Maller House, New York (USA), 1986
- Highway ‘86 – Installation for Expo 1986, Vancouver (Canada), 1985
- Forest Building, Richmond (USA), 1980
- Cutler Ridge Showroom, Miami (USA), 1979
- Plan for Terrarium showroom, California (USA), 1978
- Ghost Parking Lot, Hamden (USA), 1977
- Best Products, various US cities, 1970-1984
- York Rest Stop design, Interstate 80, Nebraska (USA), 1974
- Indeterminate Facade, Houston (USA), 1974
- Peeling Building, Richmond (USA), 1971

Official site

www.siteenvirodesign.com

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