James Wines: Choice, Chance, and Change: Design as a Conduit to Context

A two-dimensional charcoal drawing depicting a series of high rise buildings.

James Wines, High-rise of Homes (1981), ink, wash and charcoal. Collection of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Edgar A. Tafel Lecture Series

James Wines is the founder and president of Site, an environmental art and architecture studio chartered in New York City in 1970. He is a graduate of Syracuse University School of Art (1957), where he majored in sculpture and art history. He is the former director of environmental design at Parsons School of Design, and professor emeritus of architecture at Penn State University. His buildings, landscapes, and public spaces are based on a site-specific response to their surroundings. Wines’ educational philosophy advocates integrative thinking as a means of including multidisciplinary and contextual ideas from outside the design professions. He has written seven books on art and design, including On Site-On Energy, (Scribners and Sons, 1974), De-Architecture, (Rizzoli International, 1987), and Green Architecture, (Taschen Verlag, 2000). Wines has designed more than 150 buildings, public spaces, landscapes, and environmental artworks for private and municipal clients in 11 countries. 

Wines is the recipient of the Smithsonian Institution's 2013 National Design Award for Lifetime Achievement, the ANCE Annual Award for an International Architect (Italy, 2011), and the Chrysler Award for Design Innovation (1995). In 2019, Wines was honored by the Hirshhorn Museum's annual Artist X Artist Award. He is also the recipient of fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Kress Foundation, American Academy in Rome, Guggenheim Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Graham Foundation and Ford Foundation. In 2020 there will be a retrospective of his drawings for Site at the Tchoban Architecture Museum in Berlin. Wines continues to work on international art and design projects, write, lecture, and engage in educational programs based on environmental initiatives.