Elizabeth Diller

Elizabeth Diller is a founding partner of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, a 120-person interdisciplinary design studio that integrates architecture, the visual arts, and the performing arts. With her partner Ricardo Scofidio, Ms. Diller is the first in the field of architecture to receive the MacArthur Foundation "genius" award. The jury stated, "Their work explores how space functions in our culture and illustrates that architecture, when understood as the physical manifestation of social relationships, is everywhere, not just in buildings."

Ms. Diller’s hybrid practice has produced projects noted for their significant contributions to the public realm, including: the conversion of the abandoned elevated High Line railway into a public park; and the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts Redevelopment project, comprised of public spaces, the Juilliard School, the School of American Ballet, and Alice Tully Hall. Other completed projects include the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, and the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts at Brown University.

Currently, Ms. Diller leads the design effort on the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Expansion and Culture Shed, a cultural start-up for which her studio is acting as both architect and client. Projects nearing construction completion include the Museum of Image & Sound in Rio de Janeiro and The Broad in Los Angeles.

Ms. Diller's studio, known for its research and experimental projects, has completed over four-dozen theater and installation works including Blur, an environmentally scaled pavilion made of fog for the 2002 Swiss Expo. Their most recent installations are Musings on a Glass Box for the Fondation Cartier in Paris and Charles James: Beyond Fashion for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The studio's range of work was the subject of a retrospective held at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2003.

In recent years, Ms. Diller has been recognized by the Smithsonian Institution with the National Design Award, by the National Academy of Design with a Lifetime Achievement Award, and by the American Academy of the Arts and Letters, where she recently became a fellow, with the Brunner Prize. Ms. Diller is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and an International Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects. She was recently selected by Time Magazine as one of the "100 Most Influential People in the World."

Ms. Diller graduated from the Cooper Union School of Architecture in 1979 and taught at the school from 1981-1990. Since then, she has been a Professor of Architecture at Princeton University.

Role: Trustee
Elected to the Board: December 2014
Class Term: 2018
Term Limit: 2022


  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.