Cocktails & Conversation is a series of dialogues about design that joins an architect with a critic, journalist, curator, or architectural historian to discuss current architecture design issues. For this program, James Wines, founder of SITE, will discuss his thoughts about Artificial Intelligence (A.I.)—its fears, myths, powers, and promises—with writer Phillip Denny over a custom-crafted cocktail.

About the Speakers: 

James Wines is an artist and architect who founded the renowned environmental design studio SITE in New York in 1970. He has spent much of his career challenging the notion that architecture is an act of formal invention, writing that “SITE’s work is about inversion, fusion, intervention, exaggeration—examining the elements of construction from a different point of view.” Prior to establishing SITE (Sculpture in the Environment), Wines was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and for 10 years worked as a sculptor in Italy.

In the 1970’s and 1980’s, Wines’ ground-breaking approach with SITE included a wide range of suburban showrooms for Best Products, the Forest Building in Virginia, Ghost Parking Lot in Connecticut, and his conceptual design for Highrise of Homes. He authored De-Architecture in 1987 and has been featured in over 20 monographs and museum catalogues. His current work and writings continue his focus on environmental issues and the cognitive aspects of design—the brainpower’s neural circuitry (hand drawing) vs. the computer’s digital circuitry (A.I.).

Wines graduated from Syracuse University and is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome. He has taught in numerous educational institutions including The New School, NYU, Dartmouth, the University of Wisconsin, Cooper Union, Parsons, and Penn State. He has been recognized with nearly seven decades of major awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Graphic Art in 1955 to the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013.

Phillip Denny is a New York-based educator and writer on architecture, combining inquiry and design to create books, essays, archives, lectures, pedagogies, and exhibitions. He is co-founder of the a83 architecture gallery in Manhattan and was editor of the New York Review of Architecture from 2019-2023. He has contributed articles to Architectural DigestDomusMetropolis, and The New York Times. He is currently working with Diller Scofidio + Renfro on a comprehensive monograph of their work as well as with SITE/James Wines.

Denny holds degrees from Carnegie Mellon, Princeton, and Harvard Universities, and is now a PhD candidate in architectural history at Harvard University. He has taught and hosted workshops at a wide range of institutions including Pratt, Boston Architectural College, Harvard, Princeton, Syracuse, Columbia, and the Dessau Bauhaus Foundation.