Gehry’s Walt Disney Hall Turns 10

Courtesy of Archdaily

It’s been called a “remarkable work of public architecture” that “engages [the city of] Los Angeles” like few others. With the 10 year anniversary of Frank Gehry‘s Walt Disney Concert Hall approaching, the LA Times, with some great, in-depth coverage, has been taking a look back at its architecture and what makes it such an important icon for both Gehry and LA. Oh, and don’t forget to check out its soon-to-be neighbor on Grand Avenue, the Broad Museum by Diller Scofidio + Renfro!

Final Design Team Shortlist Announced for New U.S. Embassy in Beirut

The Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) has shortlisted three design teams for the new U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon for Stage 3 evaluation. The project is part of OBO’s Excellence in Diplomatic Facilities initiative in which seeks to provide safe and functional facilities that represent the best in American architecture. The shortlisted teams are:

Shortlist Announced to Design Moscow’s First Park in 50 Years

Courtesy of http://parkzaryadye.com/en/

In the 20th century, it was going to be the site of the world’s tallest skyscraper, but it became the world’s largest hotel. In 2006, the hotel was replaced with a fence, the largest advertising space in all of Europe, enclosing acres of undeveloped, highly valuable land. In 2014, it will become ’s first – and most important – park in over 50 years.

Zaryadye Park, located on 13 acres of land just a minute’s walk from the Kremlin and the Red Square, will become a gateway to Moscow, one that will “project a new image of Moscow and Russia to the world.” Because of the Park’s significance, the city of Moscow (with aid from the Strelka Institute for Media Architecture and Design) has decided to host an international competition for its re-design.

The 6 finalists shortlisted for this significant project, after the break…

‘Reimagining Lincoln Center and the High Line’ Film Screening

Taking place this Thursday, June 20th, at 7:00pm EST, Van Alen Books welcomes Diller Scofidio + Renfro for a film screening of ’Reimagining Lincoln Center and the High Line.’ The 54-minute documentary offers insights into the firm’s history, completed projects, and unique process of re-imagining the public identities of two major New York urban spaces. The film includes commentary from the architects as well as interviews with New York commissioner Amanda Burden, as well as several critics and theorists. Before the film,  and Ric Scofidio will join directors Muffie Dunn and Tom Piper for a conversation about their work, moderated by VAI executive director David Van der Leer. More more information on the event, please visit here.

The Smithsonian Scraps Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Hirshhorn ‘Bubble’

Courtesy of

After four years of high-brow debate, the demise of the controversial Hirshhorn ‘Bubble’ has been confirmed. The decision, made by Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough and Undersecretary Richard Kurin, comes shortly after the Hirshhorn board’s split vote resulted in the resignation of director Richard Koshalek – the man behind the ‘Bubble’. 

AD Interviews: Charles Renfro

DS+R (Diller Scofidio + Renfro) is one of the most acclaimed architecture practices of these days. The firm was started by Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio back in 1979, and they were later joined by as a partner in 2004.

In the past years the firm has been involved in several cultural projects, including the Blur Building at the Swiss Expo 2002, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, the Julliard School, the Alice Tully Hall and the Hypar Pavilion at Lincoln Center in New York and the Center for the Creative Arts at Brown University. They are also currently working on the Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley, the Broad Museum in Los Angeles, the Museum of Image & Audio in Rio de Janeiro, the Columbia Medical Building and Business School in New York… and the list just keeps growing.

But for sure one of their most important projects has been The Highline, together with James Corner / Field Operations. This urban regeneration project has not only changed Manhattan, but also inspired cities around the world to understand their hidden value. This project is currently on its third stage, which includes a multi-use venue designed by DS+R, the Culture Shed.

In all these projects, there is a common denominator between private/public space relationships, as discussed with Charles Renfro in this interview. In this conversation you will also learn about a very important aspect of the firm’s work, one that is very hard to transmit in traditional architecture media or even on the web: the experience. The art and performance projects that the firm has been doing since its beginning has added a particular layer to their built work. After you see their installations (and the effect they create in people), and then go back to their built projects, you start to see them as a series of situations where users are not static, but part of this performance.

Take for example the sunken auditorium at the Highline, a place that is meant to be seen by the cars driving below, who get a glimpse of the active urban life above. Or the hanging media center at the ICA, that uses the sea as a facade. Or The Art of Scent exhibit at the MAD Museum, where they exhibit the intangible. Or at the Blur Building, where you enter into a cloud.

DS+R’s work is very clear and bold at first glance, but with many underlaying moments and situations that reflect the careful design of each project.

Thanks to UNIACC Architecture School for making this interview possible. Projects by DS+R at ArchDaily:

Penn Station, Re-Imagined

Courtesy of SHoP

UPDATED: This morning, four architectural firms, invited by the Municipal Art Society(MAS), displayed how they would transform New York’s darkest & dingiest hub – – into a space worthy of its site in the heart of the city.

New Yorkers have been up in arms about Penn Station ever since its Beaux-Arts predecessor, designed by McKim, Mead & White, was demolished in 1963. Its replacement is a dark, cramped station that lacks both the operational and security features it needs to sustain the hundreds of thousands of travelers who use it daily. As Michael Kimmelman put it in his inaugural piece as architecture editor for The New York Times: “To pass through Grand Central Terminal, one of New York’s exalted public spaces, is an ennobling experience, a gift. To commute via the bowels of Penn Station, just a few blocks away, is a humiliation.”

As we reported last month,Madison Square Garden’s (MSG) 50-year permit expires this year, and it will be either renewed without limit, or extended 10-15 years, by The New York City Council in the coming months. The problem, according to MAS, is that “MSG happens to sit on top of the busiest train station in North America [a.k.a, Penn Station] and constrains its ability to serve over half a million people every day. [...] 2013 presents New York City with a truly unique opportunity and together we need to seize this moment.”

And so MAS invited Diller, Sofidio, & Renfro; H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture; SHoP; Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill, to do just that. See their visions, after the break…

MoMA Selects Diller Scofidio + Renfro as Architect of the Folk Art Museum

© Michael Moran

The Museum of Modern Art has commissioned  (DS+R) to design its controversial expansion that will overtake the former American Folk Art Museum in . This news comes after an intense backlash from prominent architects, preservationists and critics worldwide pressured MoMA to reconsider its decision to raze the iconic, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien-design museum in order to make way for its new expansion.

In response, DS+R has requested that MoMA gives them the “time and latitude to carefully consider the entirety of the site, including the former American Folk Art Museum building, in devising an architectural solution to the inherent challenges of the project,” as stated by Glenn D. Lowry, MoMA’s director, in a memo sent on Thursday to his trustees and staff. He added, “We readily agreed to consider a range of options, and look forward to seeing their results.”

More on the DS+R’s commission and the fate of the Folk Museum after the break…

Lincoln Center Inside Out / Diller Scofidio + Renfro

The redesign of Lincoln Center is one of the most challenging and innovative civic projects in recent urban history. Over the past eight years, Diller Scofidio + Renfro (), in close collaboration with FXFOWLE, and Lincoln Center’s leadership, has transformed the 50-year-old modernist citadel into a porous and democratic campus. This visually rich document is the first comprehensive book to feature the extensive redevelopment in its entirety. Inside-Out, and still Lincoln Center details DS+R’s interpretation of the modernist project after several generations of social and political change. Through a combination of photographs, drawings, renderings, archival records and texts, the book describes the innovative strategies that have dissolved the public/private divide and effectively turned the campus inside-out, extending the spectacle of the performance halls into the Center’s mute public spaces and surrounding streets.

Four Architects Enlisted to Reimagine Penn Station

via Wikipedia

In an effort to “unlock people’s imaginations” about Penn Station and Madison Square Garden, the Municipal Art Society (MAS) of New York has challenged Santiago CalatravaDiller Scofidio + Renfro, SHoP Architects and to propose four new visions that exemplify the potential of the highly disregarded area. 

The challenge comes amidst a heated debate on whether or not the city should restrict Madison Square’s recently expired special permit to 10 years, rather than in perpetuity as the arena’s owners – the Dolan family – has requested. This would allow time for the city to “get it right” and come up with a viable solution for the arena and station that, as NYTimes critic Michael Kimmelman states, would not only “improve the safety and quality of life for millions of people but also benefit the economy”. Think Kings Cross in London. With a thoughtful mix of public and private investments, the crime-ridden station was transformed into a thriving cultural destination that benefited all parties. 

More after the break…

Diller Scofidio + Renfro Designs Telescopic ‘Culture Shed’ for New York

Courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro and

The expandable multi-use venue dubbed ‘Culture Shed’ is one of the most radical proposals to come out of New York’s Hudson Yards Development Project. Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro - the New York-based interdisciplinary practice that played a major role in designing the High Line - in collaboration with the Rockwell Group, this 170,000 square foot cultural center will be located at the south end of the Hudson Yards, with the main entrance located near the conclusion of the High Line at West 30th Street.

More information on the Culture Shed after the break…

Video: Diller Scofidio + Renfro talk Hirshhorn “Bubble” on The Creators Project

YouTube Preview Image

The Creators Project released two new documentaries this week which feature the brightest new minds in design and architecture. The first piece investigates the work of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and interdisciplinary design firm behind NYC’s High Line and Lincoln Center, and more. The second piece introduces us to the digital deviants OKFocus behind their new alpha-channel video experience for Tanlines’ “Not The Same.” The first video is above and the second video can be viewed after the break.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Aberdeen Garden City Proposal Nixed

Courtesy of DS + R

After winning the Aberdeen City Garden competition in early 2012, Diller, Scofidio + Renfro‘s ‘Granite Web’ design was rejected over the summer in a 22-20 city council vote for being overly expensive. Despite public approval the proposal, which totaled a whopping £140m, was rejected in favor of a collection of more fiscally responsible city projects, such as refurbishing the Aberdeen Art Gallery and redeveloping the site of the St. Nicholas House.

Just recently, the City of Aberdeen announced a £300m city-wide plan of improving roads, schools and cultural buildings, with only £20m allotted for the city center, which will be pedestrianized but not much else. Thus, confirming the “final nail in the coffin“ for ’s ambitious web of lush gardens and cultural landmarks.

Read more after the break…

Diller Scofidio & Renfro’s ‘Granite Web’ Not Financially Viable for Aberdeen

Proposed Site – Rendering provided by the Diller Scofidio + Renfro submission boardsImages courtesy of City Garden Project

The life of a city-funded project is a tumultuous one. After winning a design competition early this year and receiving public support to move forward, Diller, Scofidio + Renfro’sGranite Web” design for the redevelopment of the nineteenth-century Terrace Gardens in Aberdeen, Scotland was recently rejected by the city council in a 22-20 vote.  The project promised to bring a revived pulse to the heart of the city centre with a public space that would bring a year-round civic garden onto the “unattractive” Denburn dual carriageway and railway line.

More after the break.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro Unveils New Columbia University Medical Building

Exterior View South – Courtesy of CUMC

has been at the forefront of medical education for more than two centuries, as it was the first medical school in the United States to award the M.D. degree in 1770. Now, the Medical Center (CUMC) has announced plans for a new, state-of-the-art medical and graduate education building that reflects how they believe medicine is and should be taught, learned and practiced in the 21st century.

Located on the CUMC campus in the Washington Heights community of Northern , the 14-story facility will aim to achieve LEED Gold certification and incorporate technologically advanced classrooms, collaboration spaces, and a modern simulation center. The design is led by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, in collaboration with Gensler as executive architect.

Continue after the break for more details!

Cooper-Hewitt selects DS+R to help with Expansion

Back Garden © Rob Corder

City-based Diller Scofidio + Renfro has been chosen to design the gallery and visitor experience at the historic Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum – the only museum in the United States that is exclusively devoted to historic and contemporary design. The landmark is currently under undergoing an extensive, $64 million transformation that will expand gallery space by sixty-percent. The new environment will be laced with interactive elements in which Local Projects will help integrate into the gallery space as they have been selected as participatory media designer.

The contemporary vision of the re:design aims to become a modern exemplar for museum design, while still preserving the historic Carnegie mansion. The renovation is led by Gluckman Mayner Architects and Beyer Blinder Belle. It will achieve LEED certification and is scheduled to be complete by 2014.

“It is because of their keen abilities to translate ideas and concepts into boundary-stretching design that Cooper-Hewitt selected DS+R and Local Projects as the ideal partners to help re-envision the design of its gallery, visitor and participatory digital experiences,” explained Bill Moggridge, director of the museum.

Governors Island / West 8

© West 8 / Rogers Marvel Architects / Diller Scofidio + Renfro / Mathews Nielsen / Urban Design +

Despite all of the preconceived notions about City being overpopulated, noisy and constantly bustling, there are numerous pockets within the five boroughs that offer respite from the city. This design strives to be one such pocket – or island. has a long military history that dates back to 1776. It was controlled by the U.S. Government first for the U.S. Army and later for the Coast Guard. In 2002 the island was “sold” to the people of New York and declared a national monument. In 2010, Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Paterson agreed on the future operations, planning and redevelopment of the island through the Trust for Governors Island. Since then, the island has been open during the summer months for visitors to enjoy the unique seclusion offered by the the old military grounds. But the Trust had bigger plans. Choosing a team of architects, urban planners, designers and landscape architects that include Rogers Marvel Architects, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Mathews Nielsen and led by West 8, plans began to unfold that would reimagine the island as a getaway for New Yorkers. Playing up to its isolation, its abundance of lawns and trees, and the views that it offers, the first phase of the plans have officially broken ground and are scheduled for completion in Fall 2013.

Check out what’s in store for Governors Island after the break.

TED Talk: A Giant Bubble for Debate / Liz Diller

Liz Diller, founding principle of Diller, Scofidio + Renfro, shares the story of creating the pneumatic addition to the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC. Commonly known as the “Bubble”, the inflatable event space is planned for the cylindrical courtyard of the National Mall’s modernist museum that was originally designed by Gordon Bunshaft in 1974. The first inflation of the “Bubble” is expected to take place at the end of 2013.

“To truly make good public space, you have to erase the distinctions between architecture, urbanism, , [and] media design.” –