• What Else Could It Mean? Writings and Drawings by James Wines, 1972–2022
    Phillip Denny, James Wines & Suzan Wines

James Wines, “Highrise of Homes, project (Exterior perspective),” 1981. Ink and charcoal on paper, 22 x 24 in. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo: SITE

The sources of architecture’s conceptual premises and intents are endless. This collection of essays and drawings by American artist and architect James Wines argues for an expansive view of the meanings that buildings and spaces deliver. Wines’ writing is grounded in more than sixty years of practice as an artist and architect. Living in Italy in the 1960s, he first observed that historic structures used sophisticated iconography to communicate and connect with an ever-evolving public. In the post-truth era, we lack a stable repertoire of unanimously recognized signs and symbols. By identifying messages that go beyond the conventional architectural categories of form, space, structure, and function, architects stand to create a richer, more communicative, and ultimately more humane environment. The challenge posed to art and architecture today is to infuse public structures and spaces with other sources of meaning based on social, political, environmental, and psychological content.

James Wines, winner of the 2013 National Design Award for Lifetime Achievement, is the founder of SITE, an environmental arts organization in New York. His visual art, architecture, landscape, and public projects are based on a response to surrounding contexts. He has lectured in fifty-nine countries and contributed essays to publications around the world. Books about Wines include De-Architecture (Rizzoli International, 1987) and Green Architecture (Taschen, 2000). There are 22 monographs and museum catalogues about Wines’ work with SITE which includes 150 projects in eleven countries. Wines has won 25 art and design awards, including the 1995 Chrysler Award for Design Innovation, and is the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Kress Foundation, American Academy in Rome, Guggenheim Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Graham Foundation, and Ford Foundation.

Suzan Wines is an architect and principle of I-Beam Design, an award-winning woman-owned architecture firm. She is also executive director and senior architect at SITE- James Wines, LLC.  Wines recently coedited Transient Spaces (The City College of New York, 2019) with Loukia Tsafoulia and Samantha Ong and has served as New York correspondent to Domus magazine. She has taught at The Cooper Union, Pratt Institute, Parsons School of Design, and is adjunct associate professor at the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture, The City College of New York. I-Beam’s projects have been featured in numerous international books and publications and exhibited at the Milan Architecture Triennale; the Venice Biennale; Salone del Mobile, Milan; Prince Charles’ Royal Gardens, London; Grade European Center for Culture, Belgrade; Boston Architectural Center; Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York; and AIA New York’s Center for Architecture.

Phillip Denny is an architectural historian and editor based in New York City. He is a doctoral candidate at Harvard University and is a Frederick Sheldon Traveling Fellow in Germany. He holds master’s degrees in architecture and architectural history from Princeton and Harvard Universities. His writing on architecture and design has appeared in Volume, Metropolis, Harvard Design Magazine, The New York Times, Architect's Newspaper, and elsewhere.