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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments

In Diller Scofidio + Renfro: Architecture after Images, Edward Dimendberg offers the first comprehensive treatment of one of the most imaginative contemporary design studios.  Since founding their practice in 1979, Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio have integrated architecture, urban design, media art, and the performing arts in a dazzling array of projects, which include performances, art installations, and books, in addition to buildings and public spaces.  At the center of this work is a fascination with vision and a commitment to questioning the certainty and security long associated with architecture.

Dimendberg provides an extensive overview of these concerns and the history of the studio, revealing how principals Elizabeth Diller, Ricardo Scofidio, and Charles Renfro continue to expand the definition of architecture, question the nature of space and vision in contemporary culture, and produce work that is endlessly surprising and rewarding, from New York’s High Line to Blur, an artificial cloud, and Facsimile, a video screen that moves around a building facade.  Dimendberg also explores the relation of work by DS+R to that by earlier modernists such as Marcel Duchamp and John Hejduk.  He reveals how the fascination of the architects with evolving forms of media, technology, and building materials has produced works that unsettle distinctions among architecture and other media. Based on interviews with the architects, their clients, and collaborators as well as unprecedented access to unpublished documents, sketchbook entries, and archival records, Diller Scofidio + Renfro is the most thorough consideration of DS+R in any language. Illustrated with many previously unpublished renderings in addition to photos from significant contemporary photographers, this book is an essential study of one of the most significant and creative architecture and design studios working today.


“Ed Dimendberg is a masterful guide for a pilgrims journey thr Sharon Zukin, author of Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places


“Diller Scofidio + Renfro have emerged over the last decade as one of the most consistently innovative and daring architectural firms in the world. Their architecture defies easy categorization and can be as ephemeral as a cloud or as substantive as solid mass. Throughout their practice, though, they have been interested in cinematic effects and Edward Dimendberg’s thoughtful and compellingly written Diller Scofidio + Renfro: Architecture after Images explores in detail this aspect of their work and much more.”


“Ed Dimendberg is a masterful guide for a pilgrim’s journey through the complex landscape created by one of the most provocative architectural partnerships of our time.  Like Diller Scofidio + Renfro, he makes you see and feel built forms in a new way, shaped by an intelligence and sensuality informed by film history, postmodern theory, and digital technology.”


“With sympathy, precision, and insight, Edward Dimendberg elegantly maps the topography of the practice—and practices—of Diller Scofidio + Renfro.  Their work—at once lush and austere, theatric and theoretical—is a singular exploration of architecture’s expanding field, in which the scrupulously affective meets the pleasure principle with uncanny results for both art and use.  This is a project of pioneering intelligence, engagement, authenticity, urbanity, and form.”


“Edward Dimendberg has done a good job in pinning down the work of a practice—the very essence of which, of course, is not to be pinned down.”


“By the end of the book, when Edward Dimendberg has brought the reader close to the present day, what has been conveyed is not a analytical treatise or the academic document of a film scholar; it is a biography of the architects and history of their past projects by somebody who appreciates their work. It is c


“A timely and penetrating study of a firm that has surged to prominence on the strength of two headline projects in New York: its imaginative transformation of Lincoln Center and the High Line.”


Diller Scofidio + Renfro: Architecture After Images is less about an architecture that leaves images behind, rather one that arises from a profound fascination with their potency. Cultural paradigms are used with deadpan humour, as mass-media consumption is metamorphosed and shown back to us, in projects like the airport-based Travelogues installation, or Facsimile, in which real and staged footage of an office was projected on to the outside of a building blurring expectations of truth and fiction. DS+R reach its most eloquent heights when transgressing the limits of architectural practice. So a highly articulate discussion of its work in terms of affect, culture and media, rather than in traditional plan and section, does not seem out of place. I can’t wait for the movie. “


“This comprehensive and scholarly book is not a typical coffee table adornment, but rather a serious study for readers truly interested in architects who claim inspiration from Marcel Duchamp and John Hejduk. From their transformation of New York’s Lincoln Center to their lauded work on Manhattan’s Highline, this has been one of the firms to watch for decades. Fortunately, they seem just to be getting started.”


Architecture after Images is a book that has been almost 10 years in the making, and that comes from a deep and genuine understanding of DS+Rs practice. Although chronological, Edward Dimendbergs approach is very far from the descriptive dead meat that so many monographs suffer from. He has done a remarkable job in approaching each of DS+Rs projects on their own particular terms and not limiting them to any one narrative. . . . While their work is rich in connotations and open for interpretation, few can compete with the insight and prose that they themselves devote to their projects. In his cinematic account of their trajectory, Dimendberg comes awfully close.”


“Anyone wishing to inquire into the relations that link contemporary architecture to artistic forms of research (beginning with Duchamp, for example, to cite one appropriate reference point for presenting the book under review here) should not overlook this study by Edward Dimendberg.”

About the Author

Edward Dimendberg is professor of film and media studies, visual studies, and European languages and studies at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author of Film Noir and the Spaces of Modernity, coeditor of The Weimar Republic Sourcebook, and the principal of Dimendberg Consulting LLC.

Table of Contents


Chapter One                1976–1989

Chapter Two                1990–1999

Chapter Three               2000–2008





Product Details

Publication date:
University of Chicago Press
Edward Dimendberg
Edward Dimendberg


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