Posts tagged with "Liz Diller":

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Liz Diller’s hilarious tribute to Phyllis Lambert and the Four Seasons

The long, drawn-out farewell to the Four Seasons has had its share of heavy-hearted tributes and bittersweet final toasts. In anticipation of the closing of the restaurant and the auctioning of the Philip Johnson and Mies Van der Rohe furniture, DOCOMOMO New York/Tri-State gave a festive send-off to everyone’s favorite midcentury hangout, honoring Phyllis Lambert, the mastermind of the Four Seasons interiors and the Seagram Building in which they sit. Liz Diller, who worked as the architect of the Brasserie downstairs, gave formal remarks, giving some rare insight into the architectural process and the powerful character behind it all. Here are some excerpts of Liz’s speech.

Tonight is a tribute to Phyllis, but, so far, I’ve been talking about the Four Seasons. But is it possible to decouple Phyllis from The Four Seasons anyway and from the Seagram Building?  Never has a relationship between a building and a human being been as inextricable as between Phyllis Lambert and the Seagram. Indeed, Phyllis has said “I consider I was born when I built this building...”  

...My first experience with Phyllis was precisely about not screwing up this building. It was around 1999. The Brasserie was originally designed by Philip Johnson in the base of the building under us and it was destroyed by a fire. The restaurant operator, Nick Valenti, had hired an architect to design a new interior, whose roots were in France. It was some strange idea about how to redecorate the Brasserie. The construction documents that were completed had to be approved by Phyllis. The operator had no idea who Phyllis was. Phyllis took one look at the drawings and said, “Over my dead body.” Thereby throwing away years of planning. Phyllis then submitted a list of acceptable architects to Valenti, including my studio.

We got the commission, and about a year later we thought it would be a good idea to get Phyllis’s blessing for our design. She flew over to NYC from Montreal and we were terrified. We knew she was brutally honest, intellectually rigorous, and very tough to please. It didn't help that she arrived in our studio in a very foul mood. In fact, she was irate. Her flight had been delayed, she couldn’t find her driver, and when she did, the car had to fight through rush hour traffic to get to Manhattan, and when she got to our buiding she was interrogated by our doorman for 10 minutes, and our elevators weren’t working very well. So Phyllis burst through the door in kind of a rage, and every other word was an expletive. I quote, “I hate your effing building, I hate your effing airport, I hate your effing city, I hate your effing country.” My staff dispersed, and I offered her some tea, and told her it might calm her down. She said, “I don't want to calm down.” Ricardo decided to respond to an alleged emergency on another project, which I have never forgiven him for.

I was alone with Phyllis and a set of drawings and a year’s worth of work that was at stake. But it took all of about three minutes to soften her mood and to tame Phyllis and to draw her into a dialogue the design and about architecture. Architecture is Phyllis’s medium. She breathes it, she eats it, and we bonded at that time and have remained very good friends ever since. I consider her my mentor.

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Liz Diller awarded 2016 ACADIA Lifetime Achievement Award

The Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA) has announced Elizabeth Diller as the recipient of their prestigious 2016 ACADIA Lifetime Achievement Award. The award is given to "exceptional architects and researchers who over the course of their career have made significant and innovative contributions to the fields of architecture and computational design." The highly competitive award was last given in 2014 to the late Zaha Hadid. Diller will receive the award at this year’s conference Posthuman Frontiers: Data, Designers, and Cognitive Machines, October 27-29 at the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. She will also deliver a keynote lecture during the conference on Friday, October 28 at University of Michigan’s Power Center for the Performing Arts. Elizabeth Diller is a founding partner of Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R), an interdisciplinary design studio that works at the intersection of architecture, the visual arts, and the performing arts. With Ricardo Scofidio, Diller was the first in the field of architecture to receive the “genius” award from the MacArthur Foundation, which stated “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.” DS+R established its identity through independent, theoretical, and self-generated projects before coming to international prominence with two of the most important planning initiatives in New York: the High Line and the redesign of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts campus. In addition to the nearly completed Columbia University Graduate and Medical Education Building, and The Broad museum in downtown Los Angeles, Diller is Principal-in-Charge of The Shed, a new center for artistic invention at the Hudson Yards, and the renovation and expansion of MoMA, both in New York. Diller graduated from the Cooper Union School of Architecture in 1979, and taught at the school from 1981-1990. She is a Professor of Architecture at Princeton University. Diller is a recipient of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Design Award, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Design, and the Brunner Prize from the American Academy of the Arts and Letters. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and International Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects. In 2013, Diller was awarded the Barnard Medal of Distinction, and DS+R was presented a Centennial Medal of Honor from the American Academy in Rome. Diller was selected by Time magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.” The ACADIA Board of Directors specifically cited “Liz Diller’s pioneering work at the intersections of architecture, art, technology and philosophy. Her critical explorations over many years have integrated design, computation and theory into a radically inventive and culturally relevant body of work from installations to buildings to urban landscapes.” ACADIA President Jason Kelly Johnson said, "From the late 1980's to today, the work of Liz Diller and her studio Diller+Scofidio (now DS+R) has been at the forefront of exploring the spatial, material and generative possibilities of new media in architecture. Their earliest experimental multi-media installations, including projects like Para-Site (1989), Slow House (1991) and Jet Lag (1998), set the stage for a substantial body of recent international built work like the Blur Building (2002) in Switzerland, the Broad (2013) museum in Los Angeles, and upcoming projects like the Museum of Image and Sound (2015-Present) currently under construction in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil."
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Bronze on Your Hands: Diller Scofidio + Renfro Faces Folk Museum Backlash

Liz Diller faced down a hostile crowd at the recent “MoMA Expansion Conversation,” hosted by the Architectural League, the Municipal Art Society, and AIA New York. Apparently she’s had some practice. One elder statesman of the New York architecture community reports that Diller made a series of phone calls to prominent architects prior to the public release of MoMA’s plans asking for their advice and support. This gray eminence apparently told her the firm should resign from the commission. At which point Ric Scofidio apparently chimed in, saying, succinctly, “Never!” An editor from another publication reports rumors of dissent within Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Apparently some associates in the firm have asked not to work on the project, fearing a Scarlet Letter on their resumes.
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Sejima Lands Biennale

The president of the Venice Biennale, Paola Barrata, announced this morning that the director of the 12th International Architecture Exhibition will be Japanese architect Kazuyo Sejima of SANAA Architects. Last week, we reported rumors that the next director was going to be a woman—a first for this most important of international contemporary architecture expositions. The names most frequently bandied about for this major job were Sejima and Liz Diller. In a formal statement, Sejima said, "The biennale has to be everything and all encompassing, a steady conversation with people who are doing things and the viewer or public who see what they are doing." The 2008 Architecture Biennale was directed by Aaron Betsky whose selection was announced only in January of that year. In picking Sejima, the Biennale has chosen a practicing architect for the first time since Massimiliano Fuksas in 2000. The Biennale has also announced that the exhibition will open on August 29 (with previews starting on August 26) and run through November 21. Traditionally, the Biennale opening date has been mid September; an earlier date should allow many more people to attend the event.
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Liz Diller Is Tone Deaf

Or so she just told WNYC. The clip was aired during Morning Edition, but as Soterios Johnson (LOVE HIM!) directed us to the web for a complete recap and more, the interview actually appears to be from yesterday's episode of Soundcheck. Thanks to the magic of the Internet, you can find the full clip above, as well as a video tour after the jump. And as Johnson gamely noted, be sure to tune in Sunday for the building's debut performance, which will air live. Think those improved acoustics carry over to radio. If this weren't enough, Soundcheck host Jonathan Schaefer shares his thoughts on the Alice Tully on the Soundcheck Blog:
Alice Tully Hall is in exactly the same place as it always was; the renovation was unable to change the “footprint” of the hall within the larger building, or to move walls or even seats. These restrictions make the changes that have been made all the more impressive. The vaguely modernist look of the hall has changed to an organic warmth. [...] It used to be that walking into Alice Tully Hall was like boarding a submarine - there was no natural light to speak of, and the lobby had all the charm of a Knights of Columbus hall. Now, everything is glass; you can see across 65th Street, or out to Broadway. It’s a phenomenon familiar to any NYC apartment dweller: you don’t realize how important natural light is to an apartment until you finally get a place that actually has it. Then you wonder how you ever lived in the half-lit dingy old place of yours for so long.
Obviously, Mr. Schaefer is a Manhattanite. We've got plenty of sky here in Brooklyn. Lincoln Centers, not so much, though. We'll call it a draw.