Don’t You Dare Call Liz Diller a Starchitect

Diller Scofidio + Renfro is arguably one of the biggest names in New York City architecture at the moment. You may not know the designers behind the firm, but they are responsible for such high-flying projects as the High Line and the reimagining of Lincoln Center. They have recently picked up two major commissions in California, museums for UC Berkeley and Eli Broad.

On this occassion, The Architect’s Newspaper sat down with the firm’s two founders, Elizabeth Diller and Ric Scofidio. Here is what the former had to say when asked if the firm had achieved a certain status in the world of design, if not at large:

Your careers are taking off. Are you scared your firm will grow too fast? Do you consider yourselves “starchitects” now?

I don’t really know what “starchitect” means. I take it as a pejorative, because it means that you’re sought-after. It comes hard to us. We don’t roll it out of the drawer. We don’t repeat ourselves. Each project is torturous and joyful, and it’s always an inspiration. We don’t think we get projects because of celebrity; we think we earn them. We fought hard to get these projects. The alignments happened not because of our name. We had the right ideas for those sites. That being said, we’re really glad to be seen at a high level and to have the chance to compete. I’ve always dreamt that we would, when we stepped into the practice, and we never stepped away from our art and our other research. [Emphasis added]

To be fair, the firm deserves all the success it has wrought. Still, it kind of makes sense that the two got their start building theater sets before they designed buildings–such dramatics! For a full primer, here is Ms. Diller in 2007 giving a TED talk.

Don’t You Dare Call Liz Diller a Starchitect