"Architecture In Context" curated by Marie-Ange Breyer of FONDS RÉGIONAL D'ART CONTEMPORAIN DU CENTRE [FRAC] and Denise MC Lee and Sara Stracey of SITE, surveying models and drawings for architecture and landscape projects from 1968 to the present, is part of a series of ARCHILAB retrospectives in 2002 Orleans that features key contributors to the 1970's "Radical Architecture" movement.
SITE's sketches, watercolors and models represent its interest in the contextual influences of cultural history, existing buildings, surrounding topography, regional landscape, and people's subliminal reaction to certain omnipresent types of buildings, exploring the total integration of architecture and landscape. Other drawings form part of an on-going critique of 20th Century design conventions – particularly those ubiquitous stylistic motifs derived from 1920's and 30's Modernist/Constructivist traditions.
SITE's buildings and public spaces are frequently interpreted as "filtering zones" for communicating information about the environment, rather than designed as objects in the environment. The body of work describes a narrative function of architecture - suggesting that a building's wall surfaces, interiors, and exterior spaces can be seen as conveyors of messages that go considerably beyond the conventions of sculptural form.
SITE projects often use familiar aspects of architectural language as a means of inverting the meaning of architecture. It is a way of treating the elements of construction technology and people’s reflex identification with certain generic buildings as sources of architectural commentary. By using buildings themselves as a raw material, architecture becomes the subject matter of art, rather than the objective of design.
SITE’s work proposes an architectural vision that is inclusive, mutable, evolutionary, and indeterminate. Most recent drawings describe a concept of "passages," where walls become sponge-like membranes for the absorption of outside information. The purpose is to integrate architecture with its context to a point where it becomes difficult to discern where the building stops and the surrounding environment begins.