The Trustees of the American Academy in Rome will honor architects Elizabeth Diller, AFAAR’81, Ricardo Scofidio, and Charles Renfro of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, recognizing their exceptional contributions to architecture and the visual arts with the Academy’s Centennial Medal. It will also bestow the Medal of Excellence on Adele Chatfield-Taylor, FAAR’84, honoring her remarkable 25-year tenure as the President and CEO of the American Academy in Rome. The honorees will be celebrated on April 17 at the Academy’s annual Tribute Dinner at the Plaza Hotel in New York City, chaired by trustee and Vice Chairman Mercedes T. Bass.
Diller Scofidio + Renfro was originally founded by Diller and Scofidio in 1979, with Renfro joining the studio in 1997 and becoming Partner in 2004. These three pioneers have integrated the visual and performing arts into their architectural practice, designing monumental buildings alongside cutting-edge exhibitions, installations, and performances. Their idiosyncratic style has produced some of the most innovative designs of the past thirty years. Notable projects include the Blur Building for the Swiss Expo (2002); the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA (2006); the redesign of Lincoln Center, New York, NY (2009); the High Line (with James Corner Field Operations), New York, NY (2009, 2011); Brown University Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, Providence, RI (2011); the Broad Museum, Los Angeles, CA (in construction). In addition, Elizabeth Diller was the American Academy in Rome Dinkeloo Affiliated Fellow in 1980-81.
As President and CEO of the American Academy in Rome for 25 years, Chatfield-Taylor found many ways to burnish the Academy’s status as a premier American institution abroad for the arts and humanities. Under her leadership, the Academy’s endowment has increased fivefold, the historic property has been restored and put to full use, its programs and operations are being managed without incurring debt or deficit, and the community – while American at its core – has become genuinely international. Ms. Chatfield-Taylor’s commitment to the Academy’s mission and respect for its history, coupled with her ability to form new and vital relationships, has enabled the scholarly and artistic life of the institution to flourish. She has been the recipient of prestigious awards for her work in the field of historic preservation, including the 2010 Vincent Scully Prize, one of the most significant distinctions in the architecture and design fields. She was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1996, and in 2002 she was decorated by the President of the Italian Republic with the award of “Grand Officer of the Ordine al Merito.”
“Adele Chatfield-Taylor has been the longest serving President in our institution’s 119-year history. Among her many significant contributions are the historic preservation and modernization of the entire physical plant, the endowment of Fellowships and Residencies, the expansion of the Rome Prize community, and the completion of a recent $70 million capital campaign. While there will always be challenges ahead, we prepare to say farewell to Adele with the knowledge that she leaves the Academy securely positioned for the future. On behalf of the American Academy in Rome’s Board of Trustees, I thank Adele for her pioneering spirit, extraordinary vision, and never-ending commitment to the furthering of the Academy’s mission. We also applaud the brilliance of Diller Scofidio + Renfro,” said Mary Margaret Jones, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the American Academy in Rome.
Adele Chatfield-Taylor stated: “I am deeply honored to be receiving the Academy’s Medal of Excellence and am thrilled to be joined by Elizabeth Diller, Ricardo Scofidio, and Charles Renfro, principals of one of the most original and renowned design firms of our day. Their work exemplifies the interdisciplinary approach to the arts that has been so central to the Academy’s mission for over a century."
Proceeds from the New York benefit support the ongoing fellowships and operations of the American Academy in Rome. For 119 years the Academy has maintained its mission of fostering the arts and humanities by bringing together emerging and established artists and scholars from a range of fields. During that time many Academy Fellows and Residents have had significant influence in the worlds of art and scholarship. Academy support and fellowships have been beacons to generations of young artists and scholars. The roster of fellows and residents is a who’s who of America’s finest in their formative years. To name but a few: architects Louis Kahn, Robert Venturi, and Michael Graves; landscape architects Edward Lawson, Laurie Olin, and Martha Schwartz; composers Aaron Copland, John Adams, and Laurie Anderson; writers Ralph Ellison, William Styron, and Francine Prose; artists Philip Guston, Nancy Graves, and Anthony Hernandez. On the scholarly side are such pioneering classicists as Esther van Deman, Lily Ross Taylor, Lucy Shoe Merritt, Richmond Lattimore, and Michael C.J. Putnam; distinguished medievalists Peter Brown and Brian Stock; field-changing students of Renaissance and early modern Europe James Hankins and Anthony Grafton; and razor-sharp interpreters of modern Italy Victoria de Grazia, Mia Fuller, and David Kertzer.