The most fantastic pop-architecture of all time are were the Best Stores built by SITE Projects in the 1970's. Sadly, not a single one of the nine stores exists in it's original condition. The last to remain was the Indeterminate Facade Showroom in Houston, but the facade was demolished several years ago. Many of the buildings are completely gone; the others have been converted to Big Box stores.


Peeling Project.Richmond, VA. 1972

The Peeling Project showroom was first of nine commercial buildings designed for the BEST Products Company of Richmond, Virginia - a retail merchandiser of hard goods in the USA. Portions of the brick veneer of the facade are peeled away precariously into space, revealing the beyond. This sculptural innovation produces the effect of architecture in a state of tentativeness and instability. By engaging a context of normalcy, this intervention becomes a combination of routine utility with visual ambiguity. Since the project is not about formalist design, it explores the alternative relationships between art and buildings.

The Peeling Project was followed by a series of eight more retail showrooms. Each of these architectural concepts treated the standard "big box" prototype as the subject matter for an art statement. By means of inversion, fragmentation, displacement, distortions of scale, and invasions of nature - these merchandising structures have been used as a means of commentary on the shopping center strip. By engaging people's reflex identification with commonplace buildings, the BEST showrooms also explore the social, psychological and aesthetic aspects of architecture. This approach is a way of asking questions and changing public response to the significance of commercial buildings in the suburban environment.

- from the architect's web site


Indeterminate Facade Showroom. Houston, TX. 1975

SITE Best Stores 1970's film about the stores

SITE, Inc architect's web site
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