SITE (James Wines)

Forest Building, BEST, Richmond, Virginie, 1978

This project, commissioned by BEST Products Company and built between 1978 and 1980, illustrates an ambivalent relation between architecture and nature. As the site for the project was already covered with trees and rich vegetation, Wines sought to integrate the landscape into the architecture as a chaotic extension of the building. To enable the forest and flora to intrude into the showroom, the building was split in two, allowing enormous oak trees and a covering of vegetation to penetrate through the gaping breach. Trees and landscape invade the building in an ambiguous way, which evokes nature’s revenge. At the front of the building, the façade and the actual wall are separated by ten meters in the form of an irregular fissure running through the building, which contains the original oak trees. Through this unstructured use of natural elements, SITE poses the question of indeterminacy: “Buildings designed to integrate construction and landscape, create a biomorphic ambiguity that stimulates dialogue between the inert and the mutable, the technological and the botanical, the architectural and the topographic.”

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