- Diller, Scofidio + Renfro
Diller, Scofidio + Renfro
BiographyThe Diller Scofidio + Renfro design studio based in New York was founded in 1981 by architects Elizabeth Diller (Lódz, 1954) and Ricardo Scofidio (New York, 1935), the husband and wife team who have worked together professionally since 1979.
Charles Renfro (Baytown, 1964) has been with the company since 1997, becoming a partner in 2004. Benjamin Gilmartin became the Practice’s fourth partner in 2015.
Recognized as one of the most influential and internationally renowned practices on the New York scene since the 2000s, previously the Diller-Scofidio design studio was not specifically involved in traditional architecture but rather artistic projects with a modernist style which included art installations, sculptures, theater sets and other works of art and design.
Notable, often small scale, projects include a 24-hour installation featuring 2,500 traffic cones in Columbus Circle, New York City aimed at drawing attention to traffic patterns (1981), the Para-site suspended multimedia installation at MoMA (1989) and the Slow House, a crescent-shaped private residence (1989).
Throughout the nineties, their works were commissioned and exhibited in leading art institutions worldwide.
These initial experiences and meticulous attention to the space and social effects of art led to their "interdisciplinary approach to architecture, welcoming different styles, not merely artistic but more diverse, from new media to performance" (Treccani). This became the design studio’s trademark in recent decades when projects were commissioned which brought them international acclaim.
Particularly Elizabeth Diller who was previously a conceptual artist. Born in Poland, she emigrated to the United States with her family when she was 6 years old.
In 2018, TIME named Diller one of the "100 most influential people in the world” for the second time (the first was in 2009, with her partner Scofidio). The only architect in the 2018 list, Diller was called a "visionary who imagines things the rest of us have to see to believe, who sees opportunities where others see challenges" (E. Broad).
The project that brought the design studio international acclaim was the Blur Building (2002), a metal structure built over Lake Neuchâtel in Switzerland. Constructed for Expo 2002, a computer vaporised water from the lake and turned it into a vapor cloud.
Since then, the design studio has carried out projects in all sectors of public architecture, including commercial and residential projects, landscaping and urban planning. Their signature style combines spectacular structures with interior designs that meticulously maximize the space in line with public use and understanding.
Their most significant public projects include several projects for the renovation of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York, redesigning the Alice Tully Hall, refurbishment and expansion of the Juilliard School, expansion of the School of American Ballet, renovation of the foyer at the New York State Theater, and new Hypar Pavilion restaurant.
One of the design studio’s most noteworthy projects was the High Line in Manhattan, a former 1.45 mile-long elevated railway line adapted to create a linear park, constructed in several stages between 2009 and 2019. Once the initial plan to demolish the obsolete infrastructure was averted, DS+R design studio transformed the High Line into a beacon for residents, artists and nature lovers. The project has had a significant impact on the urban renewal process in New York, creating a lush green park and walkway that crosses blocks and old warehouses, often becoming a de facto public stage. The Mile Long Opera, an extraordinary musical performance, conceived by Liz Diller together with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, David Lang was tangible proof of this. Lasting 6 evenings, from 3 to 8 October 2018, the performance featured over a thousand singers along the entire length of the park.
Recent projects also include the Zaryadye Park, Moscow (carried out in 2017 by DS+R as part of an international consortium). The 13 hectares in the heart of Moscow is not only a large public park, but an urban plaza and social space that has helped change the landscape of the Russian capital. To achieve these aspects simultaneously, "natural landscapes are laid on top of built environments, creating a series of elemental contrasts between the natural and artificial, urban and rural, interior and exterior ".
The arts center, The Shed in Hudson Yards, New York (2019), is an 8-storey building comprising a theater and exhibition spaces, constructed over a period of 11 years. The key architectural feature is a second roof that can be deployed to cover the plaza in front, considerably increasing audience capacity. Presented by Diller as "infrastructure architecture", it aims to offer maximum flexibility and be an integral part of the artists’ performances.
Diller, Scofidio + Renfro selected works and projects
- Museum of Image & Sound, Rio de Janeiro (Brasile), 2020
- The Tianjin Juilliard School, Tientsin (Cina), 2020
- United State Olympic Museum, Colorado Springs (USA), 2020
- London Centre for Music (progetto), 2019
- Rinnovamento ed espansione del MOMA, New York (USA), 2019
- The Shed, Hudson Yards, New York (USA), 2019
- Columbia Business School, New York (USA), in corso
- High Line, New York, NY, Phase 1 (2009), ph. 2 (2011), 3 (2014), The Spur (2019)
- Zaryadye Park (con Hargreaves Associates e Citymakers), Mosca (Russia), 2017
- Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center, New York (USA), 2016
- BAMPFA - Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley (USA), 2016
- Museo d'arte The Broad, Los Angeles (USA), 2015
- McMurtry Art and Art History Building, Palo Alto (USA), 2015
- President's Bridge, Lincoln Center, New York (USA), 2012
- The Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, Providence (USA), 2011
- Hypar Pavilion and Lincoln Restaurant, New York, (USA), 2010
- Rinnovamento Alice Tully Hall, New York, (USA), 2009
- Riqualificazione e ampliamento della Juilliard School, New York (USA), 2009
- Ampliamento della School of American Ballet, New York (USA), 2007
- Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (USA), 2006
- Padiglione Blur, Swiss Expo, lago di Neuchâtel (Svizzera), 2002
- Complesso residenziale Slither, Gifu (Giappone), 2000
- Ristorante Brasserie, Seagram Building, New York (USA), 2000
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