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James Wines | SITE “Cohabitation – Trying to Do More With Less”

March 21, 2024 6:15 PM – 8:15 PM

Pratt Institute School of Architecture, Higgins hall 61 St James Pl, Brooklyn, NY 11238

James Wines, founder of the architecture and environmental design studio SITE, has spent much of his career challenging the notion that architecture is an act of formal invention. His lecture “Cohabitation – Trying to Do More With Less” will discuss the history of technology and the production of extreme waste and urbanization focusing on the Economy of SITE : “WHAT, IF ANYTHING DID WE DO RIGHT?”

As he explains, “SITE’s work is about inversion, fusion, intervention, exaggeration—often just taking something apart and examining the elements of construction from a different point of view.”

For Wines, assembling new meanings from existing architectural forms was a more challenging pursuit than creating new forms altogether. SITE tested many of these initial ideas through an extended partnership with the Best Products Company (also known as BEST), which commissioned the studio to design a series of suburban showrooms between 1972 and 1980. Using the big-box retailer’s warehouse-like buildings and their commercial environs, SITE explored how “the ubiquitous masonry containers could become culturally charged icons with only the slightest physical interventions or shifts of context.” Wines’s rejection of “the lingering tyranny of formalism” was exemplified by SITE’s Highrise of Homes, a 1981 conceptual design developed for an unspecified American cityscape. In keeping with his highly experimental yet critical approach to architecture and environmental design, Wines envisioned this project as a “village-like…alternative to conventional housing design in the cityscape.”

This event is open to the public and will be recorded.