BEST hardware stores by SITE Architecture 1970-1984

The work of the SITE architecture firm has long fascinated me with their witty and fun approaches to the facades of what are typically mundane structures. Their best-known work is a series of nine projects commissioned by the BEST Products Company hardware store in the US over the period from 1970-1984.

The first was the Peeling Project showroom. Parts of the brick veneer facade peel away at the sides, a single layer of brick projecting into space seemingly at odds with the robust nature of the material. The structure beneath – the basic ‘box’- is left exposed, playing with notions of solid and unstable, inside and outside.

5. James Wines (for SITE), Peeling Project showroom for BEST products, 1971. Richmond, Virginia. © SITE architecture, art, & design_low

The Peeling Project was followed by a series of eight more retail showrooms. Each of these architectural concepts challenged the norms of such standard, ubiquitous structures. Through fragmentation, deconstruction, inversion and playing with scale, these structures- found in the everyday retail park- challenged the public’s preconceived notions of how to approach and engage with them in a fun and often surreal way.

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6. James Wines for SITE, Inside - Outside Building, showroom for BEST products, 1984. Milwaukee, Wisconsin. © SITE architecture, art, & design_low

Images by James Wines for SITE Architecture.

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