Diller Scofidio + Renfro: Reimagining Lincoln Center and the High Line
For the renowned firm of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, architecture is not about spectacular individual buildings, but rather about the perception and construction of space. In their projects, the boundaries between architecture, visual and performing arts blur; media and design elements are combined in entirely new ways. The New York architects thus create installations and productions that reclaim and revive open spaces and render them public space for all.
Two of their most successful projects are highlighted in this documentary. In 2006 they were commissioned to help transform the old elevated West Side railway in Manhattan’s meatpacking district into an urban garden walkway extending over 22 blocks. Known universally as the High Line, it is one of New York’s most popular amenities, attracting five million visitors annually.
Scarcely less successful has been their re-fashioning of the mid-town Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts from its old incarnation as a sort of defended fortress of high culture into a beautiful urban space open to everyone.
Muffi Dunn's and Tom Piper's documentary lets us meet the three agency partners Elizabeth Diller, Ricardo Scofidio, and Charles Renfro and lets us participate in their deliberations and discussions. Others sharing their thoughts include former New York chief city planner Amanda Burden, as well as critics/theorists Mark Wigley and Anthony Vidler.
Muffie Dunn is the Executive Director of Checkerboard Film Foundation, a non-profit organization in New York City devoted to documenting significant contributions to the American arts for educational and archival purposes. She has directed six architecture films for Checkerboard on Daniel Libeskind, Jean Nouvel, Yoshio Taniguchi, Ray Kappe, Rick Joy, and Diller Scofidio + Renfro respectively. She has co-produced, with Edgar Howard, films on Vincent Scully, James Salter, Jeanne Gang, Robert A.M. Stern, and Ellsworth Kelly.
Tom Piper is Director of Production for the Checkerboard Film Foundation, and an award-winning non-fiction filmmaker. He has directed, photographed and edited more than 20 films including co-directing and editing Ellsworth Kelly: Fragments. As an independent producer, he recently completed the film Art, Architecture, and Innovation: Celebrating the Guggenheim Museum, a documentary marking the 50th anniversary of the museum building. Apart from his documentary on Diller Scofidio + Renfro, he has recently worked on artists such as Sol Lewitt and Kiki Smith, writers such as James Salter and architects such as Peter Eisenmann, Steven Holl and Thom Mayne.