Automania

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Ghost Parking Lot

James Wines/SITE. Ghost Parking Lot

James Wines: My name is James Wines and I'm the founder and president of an architecture and environmental arts organization called SITE.

Among our first projects, we created a field of buried automobiles under asphalt called the Ghost Parking Lot. It was a collector of my work, who was a shopping center owner. He had this particular parking lot in Hamden, Connecticut. There was a space at the front of the property where nobody went and nobody parked because it's too far from the actual stores. It seemed blank and ugly, as all asphalt parking lots are. I thought of this idea of what if we could park cars there, just park a row of cars and then cover them with asphalt.

There was the problem of fossil fuel consumption. So I thought it would be interesting since automobiles consume petroleum, putting asphalt, which is a petroleum product, over cars—in a sense, the petroleum consumes the car.

We had no idea how we were going to adhere asphalt to metal, how we're going to cover the cars, how we are going to bury them. We consulted this construction company and worked together on it, in a kind of collaborative way, and the rest is history.