SITE (James Wines)

Highrise of Homes, 1981

This project, somewhere between architectural concept and urban fantasy, is an interpretation of the territory of the single family home when it exists in the compacted environment of a multi-level structure, for example, this high-rise residential tower of fifteen to twenty floors located in a densely populated city center. The structure is configured in a steel and concrete matrix housing a vertical community of private houses, which in turn are grouped into villages on the different stories, each with its specific characteristics. Each level is a platform that is sold off in individual lots. Houses in this “skyscraper of homes” are developed according to a catalog of prefabricated elements and standard materials selected by the future homeowners. Priority is given to the homeowner’s individual expression and to flexibility. For Wines, architecture possesses a decidedly narrative dimension; it must produce “new types of permutable, adaptable and indeterminate images. The final – and fundamental – question is: will the occupants respond to this opportunity to cultivate their own gardens and customize their homes, when given the option? The standard homogeneous grid (…) has it not subconsciously repressed any sort of alternative thinking?” The owners will decide the aesthetic content of the architecture. Thus, High-Rise of Homes can be defined as the “collective biography of its occupants.”

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