Elizabeth Diller is a partner of Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R), a New York-based design studio whose practice spans the fields of architecture, urban design, installation art, multi-media performance, digital media, and print. With a focus on cultural and civic projects, DS+R’s work addresses the changing role of institutions and the future of cities. Founded in 1981, the studio is now led by four partners—Elizabeth Diller, Ricardo Scofidio, Charles Renfro and Benjamin Gilmartin. Alongside co-founder Ricardo Scofidio, Diller was the first architect to be honored by the MacArthur Foundation, which stated “Diller + Scofidio have created an alternative form of architectural practice that unites design, performance, and electronic media with cultural and architectural theory and criticism. Their work explores how space functions in our culture and illustrates that architecture, when understood as the physical manifestation of social relationships, is everywhere, not just in buildings.” Diller is also the only architect to have been twice distinguished with TIME Magazine’s "100 Most Influential People” list, having been included in 2018 and 2009. Most recently, she was inducted into France’s Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Minister of Culture and joined the UN Habitat Council on Urban Initiatives.
DS+R completed two of the largest architecture and planning initiatives in New York City’s recent history: the adaptive reuse of an obsolete, industrial rail infrastructure into the High Line, a 1.5 mile-long public park, and the transformation of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts’ half-century-old campus. Most recently, Diller also led two projects that have reshaped New York’s cultural landscape: the surgical renovation and expansion of MoMA, and The Shed—a start up multi-arts institution originally conceived by DS+R. The studio has worked with global institutions to expand access to culture and public space. The Broad contemporary art museum in Los Angeles has welcomed the youngest and most diverse demography of any museum in the US, while the V&A Storehouse, under construction in London, will bring much of the collection out of storage and into public view for the first time. The 35-acre Zaryadye Park, adjacent to the Kremlin, St. Basil’s Cathedral and Red Square, is the first public park to be built in Moscow in over 50 years. Diller is currently working on large urban public spaces in Madrid and Milan.
DS+R’s approach to rethinking cultural institutions and civic spaces grew out of self-generated and alternative projects that blur the boundaries between architecture, art and performance. Many of the studio’s independent works engage materials indigenous to their site, from Traffic, a guerilla installation of 3,000 traffic cones organized in a grid in New York’s Columbus Circle to the Blur Building, a pavilion made of fog on Lake Neuchâtel for the Swiss Expo. As co-creator, -producer, and –director, the studio’s most recent self-generated work is The Mile-Long Opera, a free, choral performance featuring 1,000 singers atop the High Line. The studio has also researched, curated and designed a number of interactive installations covering a wide range of subjects, including: the Costume Institute’s Charles James: Beyond Fashion and Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the The Catholic Imagination, which have recorded two of the highest attendances for any exhibition in the history of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; The Art of Scent, a sensory exhibition on the olfactory arts at the Museum of Arts and Design; and Exit, an immersive data-driven installation commissioned by Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain investigating global human migration patterns. Most recently, Diller designed the visual environment for Deep Blue Sea, a new performance work in collaboration with choreographer Bill T. Jones at the Park Avenue Armory, The Hare with Amber Eyes at the Jewish Museum in New York, and Cartier and Islamic Art: In search of modernity at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.
Diller is a Professor of Architectural Design at Princeton University.