worlds of possibility

worlds of possibility
world of possibility

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tinkering Garage Gone Global

What exactly is an interdisciplinary design studio? According to Elizabeth Diller, Ricardo Scofidio, and Charles Renfro the 60 plus person firm has “realized work of civic and cultural significance through a practice that straddles design, the visual arts, and the performing arts.”

Part of the DS+R firm with Elizabeth Diller, Ricardo Scofidio and Charles Renfro at the bottom right in black at the recently finished High Line in NY
 The group prides themselves on being indifferent to specific terminology and disciplinary conventions. Their studio is similar to hands on tinkering garage ranging in all levels of expertise. The product of the firm’s experimentation ranges from performance art to built form, but always questions boundaries of cultural and social norms. I typically refer to them as artistic inventors for lack of any one defining term, and I imagine the group would not like to be pigeonholed into any one specific category. The index on the firm’s website categorizes each work into a loose grouping for easier navigation.

The introduction of Diller Scofidio +Renfro into my architectural vocabulary originates with the Blur Building. The principals refer to this project as“architecture of atmosphere.” In simple terms it is a platform built on Lake Neuchatel, Switzerland that uses natural and manmade forces to create a fine water mist fog as the defining feature or enclosure to the “building.” The Blur Building essentially is a 50,000 square foot experiment redefining the term “built form” while creating a building that entices all of the senses simultaneously and directly. There are more theoretical and mechanical processes than can be inferred, but are meant to be hidden from the voyeurs.

Exposition pavilion: Swiss Expo Yverdon Le Bains (Lake Neuchatel) 2002

I highlight the Blur Building as an example not only because it was my first encounter but it incorporates built form, sensory experiences, and experimentation and building of systems. Some of their recent works include the Landscape Master plan of the High Line in New York, the Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Expansions, and the Be Yourself performance.

Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Renovation, DC

High Line, NY

This is a quick introduction to Diller Scofidio + Renfro is meant to spark curiosity and hopefully paint an accurate picture of what a modern inventors look like. I would encourage anyone who is remotely interested to check out the firm’s unique website for more insight into what they are all about. I hold them as an inspiration and have learned two important ideals from studying DS+R’s work: nothing is impossible until you have exhausted every idea and material, and you can exercise your voice through more than speech.

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