Renfro’s architecture firm Diller, Scofido + Renfro is behind some of New York’s most talked about recent projects including the High Line, the redesign of the Lincoln Center, Brasserie, Eyebeam and — further afield — the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art.
In his April visit to Auckland and Wellington, Renfro commented on notions of public and private space, and how the boundaries between them can be blurred to create more vibrant urban areas. He also discussed new architectural interventions in old structures, as well as DS+R’s progress from being seen as academic outsiders in the architectural world to tackling some of the highest profile projects.
DS+R’s sculptural approach to architecture was evident in the projects described, which included the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art, an Expo Pavilion in Switzerland, the New York High Line park project, and two proposals which have won design competitions – the renovation of Governors Island, in New York Harbour, and the Museum of Image and Sound, proposed for construction in Rio de Janeiro on the road frontage at Ipanema Beach.
Audience feedback afterwards was mainly along the lines of DS+R’s ability to unshackle itself from conventional thinking and journey into design realms that were "a little ‘out there'" – in Renfro’s words.
Some concepts shown were "not realisable," he said, but were more in the nature of “explorations.” But this did not stop the audience from appreciating DS+R’s imaginative evolution of a building’s form, perhaps most strikingly demonstrated in the concept drawings for the Rio museum.
This assemblage of cascading platforms, ramps and gallery spaces took its inspiration from the adjoining beach pavement, and the desire to continue the ease of pedestrian movement to the top of the low-rise building proposed. "It works!" said Renfro to appreciative laughter.
Renfro’s visit coincided with the release of the fully revised FIRST Windows & Doors Specifier’s Guide, issued for the first time in soft cover format.