The Daily Ping

Somehow, Ryan has written over 1 million Pings; Paul, just 60.

April 25th, 2005

Best Products Architecture

Ryan is currently negotiating lower oil prices in Saudi Arabia.

Back when I was taking 3-D design in college, our instructor would frequently bring in some slides to inspire us. One series stuck out for me and really touched a nerve, and that was the various designs of the Best Products Showrooms.

From what I remember, Best Products was a chain akin to Service Merchandise – they had many things on display and you ordered through the catalog (in-store.) But the buildings for Best were headed up by a design firm called SITE – Sculpture In The Environment – and that firm was headed up by a man named James Wines.

The architecture was really a commentary and criticism of big box retail. One store appeared to have no main entrance… or really, no entrance at all. But – and this is true – a corner of the store’s building was actually on rails, and would separate from the rest of the store when the shop was open. Another one, which you can see here had a crumbling facade, so it looked like the entire building was in a state of disrepair.

There were others, but those are the two I remember. The sad thing is that the web really doesn’t seem to have any information on these (and really, no photos – the real crime.) It’s a shame, since the buildings really took a pipe to the knees of conventional big box architecture.

As Pinger Maria pointed out below, I already posted a Ping about this back in April of 2003. The best part is that I even found a site about the architecture, meaning that I actually “answered” my own Ping two years ago. Viva la search engines!

Posted in Miscellaneous

Norman July 12, 2007, 7:51 pm

The one in Miami looked like the front was pulled out of the building. There were the doors in the front the next section were the walls for the doors and then the front of the building. A few years after Hurricane Andrew hit Homstead Florida the building was torn down. It is my understanding that the building in Hialeah Florida is still in place. It had a big glass front with trees inside. It was called a Terrarium.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Best_Products

Norman

FW Pillow July 24, 2008, 10:36 pm

http://www.siteenvirodesign.com/proj.best.php

SITE Architecture designed the BEST Products showrooms and I found a link.

Paul July 25, 2008, 11:16 pm

That’s a great link – thanks for sharing.

That last poster encouraged me to try another Google search for Best Products’ unique stores and… I struck gold. This comment:

http://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/Products-showrooms-SITE-t11913.html&view=findpost&p=928498#entry928498

…points to this documentary about the buildings on YouTube. Four parts:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxPuM4w3c2g
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCImIgZWVdw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_m5jDFJDl0Y
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-gLZvFp8sg

Good stuff. Particularly saddening is the comment from one fellow who says that “they’ll never” tear the Tilt Building down. These were truly unique in suburban architecture and I feel we’re collectively lesser for not having these around.

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