James Wines and SITE: Retrospective 1970–2020
Catalogue of the exhibition 'James Wines and SITE: Retrospective 1970–2020'
ed. by Nadejda Bartels
in German and English
164 pages, hardcover, published in 2020
James Wines (b. 1932) is one of those architects whose buildings leave a lasting impression on viewers, prompting them to learn more about the artist. ‘Artist’ is indeed the appropriate term, as Wines studied art and saw himself primarily as a sculptor before he devoted himself to architecture. This explains why his pencil, brush and watercolour drawings betray a skilled and experienced hand and why his buildings are so sculptural, why they remind us of contemporary conceptual art rather than architecture. His designs for the BEST department stores, which can be seen in the exhibition, are a wonderful case in point. Wines, whose architectural office SITE (Sculpture in the Environment) is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this year, aims to present architecture within the landscape, in context, that is, like a work of art that not only integrates harmoniously with its surroundings and appeals to the aesthetic sensibility of the viewer, but often also reflects current social discourses such as climate change, sustainability, ‘green’ architecture, gentrification or the future of cities. ‘Context as content’ is therefore a recurring theme in the works of SITE as well as in the exhibition at the Tchoban Foundation.