Success breeds success–in architecture especially. For proof, witness the meteoric rise of Diller Scofidio Renfro. A few years ago, the firm hadn’t completed many large projects; they were best-known as high-minded conceptualists. But then came big commissions: for ICA in Boston, Alice Tully Hall in New York’s Lincoln Center, and New York’s High Line Park. Now they’re reeling off big wins in quick order, including one announced Tuesday, to design a cutting-edge museum on Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana beach.
DS+R beat out a roster that included starchitects such as Shigeru Ban and Daniel Liebeskind, and local favorites including Isay Weinfeld and Bernardes & Jacobsen. The challenge was creating a new home for the Image and Audio Museum, which previously had wings scattered throughout the city. The new building will combine all those, for a budget of $31 million.
Arch Daily has a great post showing images of all of the competitors, but you’ll notice that the DS+R design does one thing that all the others don’t: Rather than standing sealed off from the surroundings, the building’s facade functions as a continuation of the pedestrian thoroughfare. That had to be a crucial advantage. After all, the project sits on one of the most famous and vibrant walkways in the entire world. If you’re planning a pubic building, it damn well better take that into account.
For DS+R, that approach has become de rigeur. As the High Line, Alice Tully Hall, and the ICA have proven, its architecture is all about seeing and being seen, bridging what’s inside and outside a building, via smart public spaces.