Architect Liz Diller's Firm Raises Urban Renewal to High Art

She and her partners have raised urban renewal to a high art
Photograph by Ioulex

On a cold evening in late January, Elizabeth Diller, the 59-year-old founding partner of the New York-based architecture practice Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R), took the podium at Manhattan’s Society for Ethical Culture before an audience of 800, many of them spoiling for a fight. “The most praise that I’ve received in the last three weeks is for my bravery in coming here tonight,” she began. Diller then spoke with her usual precision on the evening’s topic—the Museum of Modern Art’s controversial decision to tear down a neighboring building, the former home of the American Folk Art Museum.

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