Diller High Life

Elizabeth Diller is named on this year’s TIME 100 list, the only architect to make the cut

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Elizabeth Diller is named on this year's TIME 100 list, the only architect to make the cut. Elizabeth Diller (Iwan Baan)

Time magazine has once again released its list of the 100 most influential people, and Elizabeth Diller, a founding partner at Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DSR), was the only architect who made the cut. This the second time Diller has been included, and originally made the list jointly in 2009 with her partner-slash-husband Ricardo Scofidio after the first phase of the High Line was completed.

“Elizabeth Diller is a visionary,” wrote Eli Broad, an American entrepreneur and philanthropist. Broad had originally commissioned DSR to handle the Broad Museum in downtown Los Angeles, across from Frank Gehry’s iconic Walt Disney Concert Hall, after the studio won an invitation-only design completion. The resultant museum, upturned at the corners and draped with a dramatically perforated facade, houses Broad’s extensive personal collection of contemporary art and has won numerous awards.

“She imagines things the rest of us have to see to believe. She can turn a metaphor into brick and mortar,” Broad continued.

The Broad Museum at night. (Iwan Baan)

“For the Broad, Liz and the Diller Scofidio + Renfro team had a tricky assignment: build a museum that is iconic, but that doesn’t clash with Disney Hall across the street. They called their design “the veil and the vault.” The veil—a white, porous overlay—brings diffused light in to meet the art. And the vault, hovering within the building, its contents visible through plate-glass windows, shows visitors the great potential of our collection to keep offering more art and ideas. We thought this was a brilliant concept.”

Maybe it’s because she’s a woman in a male-dominated field, or because she was originally a conceptual artist—along with her partner in art, architecture and life, Ric Scofidio—but whatever the reason, Liz sees opportunities where others see challenges. She can do the impossible.”

Diller’s inclusion in this year’s list under the “titans” section puts her in the same club as Jeff Bezos, Oprah and Elon Musk. It elevates her to a select club of architects recognized by Time; Sir David Adjaye was the sole architect chosen last year, while Bjarke Ingels stood alone in 2016. Besides being honored for her work in architecture, Diller has been prolific throughout the entertainment world as well, producing an opera to debut on the High Line in 2019, and collaborating with director Spike Jonze on the 2014 film Her.

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