“A building should be an environmental sponge, nurturing itself on the most interesting fragments of information that come from within.” – James Wines
In honor of the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial, Rhona Hoffman Gallery is pleased to present James Wines: SITE Specific, an exhibition showcasing Wines’ distinctly original and conceptual approach to architecture. Wines’ drawings, sketches, and watercolors are not linear or geometric architectural renderings, but rather storyboards that incorporate buildings within their surrounding topographical and cultural context. 
After studying sculpture and art history, Wines made public sculpture and participated in the 1970s environmental art movement with fellow artists Gordon Matta-Clark, Alice Aycock, and Robert Smithson. However, he felt the art exhibition context was not public enough for his work and expanded to the field of architecture, founding SITE [Sculpture in the Environment] in 1970. Throughout the 70s, SITE’s clever and provocative designs challenged architectural complacency, provided playful solutions, and pioneered an emphasis on ecology and environment.
SITE Specific includes Wines’ drawings for the deconstructionist BEST department stores; original Shake Shack in Madison Square Garden; Ross’s Landing Park and Plaza in Chattanooga, TN, a project which coalesced the flowing riverfront landscape with the city’s urban grid; and Highrise of Homes, Wines’ conceptual proposal to stack independent private homes in a steel and concrete urban high rise. Wines approaches even humble architectural projects like box department stores and franchised fast-food restaurants with creativity and regard for natural environment. For him buildings are a sculptural form to be infused with life and artistic vision, and his drawings are platform to execute creative ideas.  

James Wines studied art history, sculpture and literature at Syracuse University. He is the founder and president of SITE, the former Chair of Environmental Design and Parsons School of Design, and currently a Professor of Architecture at Penn State University. His book DE-ARCHITECTURE was published in 1987 by Rizzoli International and, in 2000, Taschen Verlag in Germany released his book GREEN ARCHITECTURE. During the past decade, there have been twenty-two monographic books and museum catalogues produced on Mr. Wine’s projects for SITE and their related models and drawings. He has received twenty-five art and design awards including the 1995 Chrysler award for Design Innovation, and fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Kress Foundation, The American Academy in Rome, The Guggenheim Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, The Graham Foundation, The Ford Foundation, and the Pulitzer Prize for Graphics. A pioneer in green architecture and constant innovator, Wines was awarded the Cooper-Hewitt Lifetime Achievement Design Award in 2013. 
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