Conversations in Context

Charles Renfro

Conversations in Context invited leaders from creative fields to reflect on the site’s past, present, and future, and to contribute their perspectives on the Glass House and its significance to contemporary debates.

Charles Renfro was born in Baytown Texas in 1964. He is a practicing architect and has been based in New York City since 1989. He joined Diller + Scofidio in 1997 and was promoted to partner at Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) in 2004. DS+R is an interdisciplinary studio that fuses architecture, the visual arts and the performing arts while investigating issues of contemporary culture such as the spatial conventions of the everyday, the influence of media technologies on architecture, the changing definitions of domesticity, and the institution in the public realm. As a collaborator with Diller+Scofidio, he served as Project Leader on Brasserie, Eyebeam, the BAM Cultural District master plan (with Rem Koolhaas/OMA), Blur, the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art, and the redesign and expansion of the Juilliard School and Tully Hall at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts among other projects. DS+R was awarded the National Design Award in Architecture from the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in 2006. Renfro’s work with DS+R has been exhibited worldwide at many museums and institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Whitney Museum, the Netherlands Architecture Institute, the Canadian Centre for Architecture, and the Centre Pompidou. Prior to joining DS+R, Renfro was an associate at Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architects and Ralph Appelbaum Associates, both based in New York. He was a founding partner of Department of Design in Brooklyn. His independent art and architectural work has been exhibited in several galleries nationwide including the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York. His writing has been published in Bomb and A+U magazines. He lectures frequently both in the United States and abroad and has participated in symposia at the University of Virginia, Cornell, and Harvard GSD among others.  Renfro is a graduate of Rice University and holds a Master’s degree from Columbia University’s GSAPP. He has been on the faculty of Columbia since 2000 and was the Cullinan Visiting Professor at Rice University in 2006.

The 2011 season of Conversations in Context was generously sponsored by BMW and Design Within Reach.

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