As the founder of SITE (Sculpture in the Environment), an architecture firm most widely-known for its seminal series of buildings for the BEST discount-store chain in the 1970s, James Wines (b. 1932, Oak Park, Illinois), originally an artist, introduced his unique approach of practicing architecture as a form of cultural criticism. It struck a chord by delighting the public and infuriating many architects and critics for corrupting architecture with his witty ideas. His buildings were among the first to engage nature head-on, both for pure delight and to raise environmental issues.
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How do we design architecture with a message that could endure for millennia ?
Since the Cold War, one of the most challenging and urgent tasks facing governments around the world has been the disposal of transuranic nuclear waste. As a by-product from nuclear weaponry production, transuranic waste is not only harmful, but also boasts a formidable decay process lasting thousands of years. To address this issue, millions of barrels of highly radioactive waste have been buried in repositories deep beneath the earth’s surface. One such disposal site is the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico, United States. To ensure public safety, it is imperative that the site remain undisturbed for the duration of the waste’s decay process.
THE 2016 AIA PHOENIX METRO DESIGN COMPETITION
THIS IS PHOENIX
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"A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it." - George Moore
While we may not always see it for ourselves, each PLACE has the potential to inspire great possibilities.
We see opportunities for collaboration for art and architecture students and NuPath. We would love to engage the students in a potential competition project of creating sculptures to the name of those who were part of NuPath. The project is to design a single sculpture or installation that could be dynamically multiplied on site. The outdoor space is located on the back green space of the building, located in 147 New Boston Street in Woburn, MA and it is currently being planned as the Outdoor Sculpture Park. With the innovative and creative ideas from art and architecture students, we can help memorialize people that were part of the NuPath family.
As the founder of SITE, an architecture firm most widely-known for their seminal series of stores for BEST in the 1970s, James Wines has become something of an anomaly in the field of architecture: originally an artist, his approach of creating architecture as a form of cultural criticism struck a chord almost universally, delighting critics and the public alike. In this interview, the latest in Vladimir Belogolovsky's “City of Ideas” column, Wines explains the ideas behind those early designs and how his subsequent works have continued that thread of ideas.
According to one survey, images of the BEST Products Showroom in Houston, Texas, designed by SITE (Sculpture in the Environment), appeared in more books on 20th-century architecture than any other building. The intentionally crumbling brick at that Houston store, known as “Indeterminate Façade,” and the eight other showrooms SITE designed, were simultaneously iconic and controversial, and most importantly for BEST, they brought in customers. Although SITE-founder James Wines never considered himself a Postmodernist architect, his designs for BEST, completed between 1972 and 1984, steeped in whimsical social commentary, came to symbolize the essence of Postmodernism. Today, all but one of the BEST showrooms have been demolished or altered beyond recognition, but they set a lasting precedent, and continue to influence the use of architecture in corporate branding today.