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Agata Wozniczka tells about her favorite architects

04 of January '24

The article is from A&B issue 9|23

What is your favorite architect and what do you value her most for?

Taking on challenges gives me strength, while comfort puts me to sleep." - This is how Elizabeth Diller talks about her design ambitions in a recent interview with El Pais. The architect, founder of the Diller Scofidio+Renfro studio for forty-two years (!), continues to challenge the classical understanding of architecture and, most impressively, builds experimental spaces that transform cities around the world. It is Elizabeth Diller that I value most as an artist - also for how she has changed my understanding of architecture. What I admire most about the architect is her courage in constantly experimenting with the concept of "architecture" and its successive typologies and relationship to the context of the city.

I remember seeing her Blur Building, built for Expo 2002 in Switzerland, at the beginning of my studies. The foggy pavilion, formally freed from styles and orders, showed me that architecture can be temporary, that valuable architecture is built by its interesting spatial narrative. The revitalization of Lincoln Center in New York, on the other hand, is caesural architecture, branding changes in the understanding of public spaces. The campus, originally designed to be served by vehicular traffic, gained a variety of community-building common spaces (including short-term ones) after design intervention by Diller Scofidio+Renfro. Another project by the architect serves a similar function: the emblematic High Line, a linear park established on a former New York City railroad overpass. Using found resources and the way urban nature has already developed abandoned infrastructure, Elizabeth Diller's studio created the green space as a symbol of adaptation and wise revitalization. Meanwhile, The Shed, a cultural center, exhibition and performance space -- was conceived as an architectural record of a theatrical performance that is constantly being transformed. Thus, The Shed building can change its volume, providing either a huge auditorium or an open public plaza as needed.

Blur Building, czyli architektura tymczasowości,

Blur Building, or architecture of temporality, - design: Diller Scofidio+Renfro, sketch: Agata Wozniczka/BudCud

© Agata Wozniczka

Analysis of DS+R's realizations frees one to think in terms of form, emphasizing the importance of accurately diagnosed design challenges, contextual characteristics and projected user behavior. The aforementioned projects by Elizabeth Diller show how much influence the implementation of contemporary architectural design has on the understanding of urban spaces and the creation of new dimensions of urban life. And what an outstanding designer she is.

Agata Wozniczka


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