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The Slow House

©Laurent Lecat

The Slow House, 1991

Diller + Scofidio
  • Architects
www.dsrny.com

Since 1979, Elisabeth Diller and Richard Scofidio have been exploring the interferences between architecture, which they consider as an event, and other cultural systems (film, fashion, philosophy, theater, the visual arts and the media). A “hypertextual” quality often emanates from their creations, resulting as much from the integration of household objects as from the important place they give to new technologies. The many multimedia installations they have presented around the world attest to this, such as Para-Site in 1989 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, or Exit, produced in collaboration with Paul Virilio for the Fondation Cartier in 2009 in Paris. Based on the heterogeneity of our spatial culture, their approach engages the viewer on a physical and a sensorial level in order to question the reality of architectural traditional values, i.e., they adhere to a redefinition of space and time, notably through the multiplication of the possible levels on which they can be read (Slow House, 1991) and of degrees of perception. For the Swiss event Expo.02 in 2002, they created “a cloud” (Blur Building, Yverdon-Les Bains), a computerized system for pumping water from Neuchâtel Lake, which was then noisily vaporized into the atmosphere thanks to 35,000 sprinklers. This evanescent and indefinite “blur building” destabilized the visual and auditory references of the visitor: “There was nothing to show, other than our dependence on sight” (Elisabeth Diller).

Elisabeth Diller (1954, Poland) studied at the Cooper Union School of Architecture and teaches at Princeton University. Riccardo Scofidio (1935, New York) studied architecture at Columbia University, and at the Cooper Union School of Architecture, where he was later named professor emeritus. In 1979, they founded their own firm, Diller+Scofidio and were later joined in 1997 by Charles Renfro (1964, Texas), who became co-director in 2004 of Diller Scofidio+Renfro. The firm has received many prizes, including the MacArthur Prize in 1999. In 2009, they won the competition for the High Line, a project involving the conversion of a former railway line crossing Manhattan into a public park.