Liz Diller and her maverick firm DS+R bring a groundbreaking approach to big and small projects in architecture, urban design and art -- playing with new materials, tampering with space and spectacle in ways that make you look twice.
Liz Diller's firm, Diller Scofidio & Renfro, might just be the first post-wall architects. From a mid-lake rotunda made of fog to a gallery that destroys itself with a robotic drill, her brainy takes on the essence of buildings are mind-bending and rebellious. DS+R partakes of criticism that goes past academic papers and into real structures -- buildings and art installations that seem to tease the squareness of their neighbors.
DS+R was the first architecture firm to receive a MacArthur "genius" grant -- and it also won an Obie for Jet Lag, a wildly creative piece of multimedia off-Broadway theater. A reputation for rampant repurposing of materials and tricksy tinkering with space -- on stage, on paper, on the waterfront -- have made DS+R a sought-after firm, winning accounts from the Juilliard School, Alice Tully Hall and the School of American Ballet, as part of the Lincoln Center overhaul; at Brown University; and on New York's revamp of Governer's Island. Their Institute for Comtemporary Art has opened up a new piece of Boston's waterfront, creating an elegant space that embraces the water.
“Aside from keeping the rain out and producing some usable space, architecture is nothing but a special-effects machine that delights and disturbs the senses.”
“The theatrics of a concert hall are as much in the space of intermission and the space of arrival as when the concert starts.”
“There is a huge disconnect between the communicative and discursive space of the [National] Mall, and the museums that line it to either side.”
“To truly make good public space, you have to erase the distinctions between architecture, urbanism, landscape, [and] media design.”
“Art and politics are inherently and implicitly together, always and all the time.”
“Beyond exhibiting contemporary art, the Hirshhorn will become a public forum, a place of discourse for issues around arts, culture, politics and policy.”
“The ideals of participatory democracy are represented through suppleness rather than rigidity.”