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Jan. 12: Renowned Architects Featured in Jill Watson Lecture Series


Eric Sloss

Carnegie Mellon's Jill Watson Lecture Series Features Renowned
Architects David Adjaye and Elizabeth Diller, Jan. 19–20

PITTSBURGH—The Jill Watson Distinguished Lecture Series at Carnegie Mellon University will present talks by internationally acclaimed architect David Adjaye on Friday, Jan. 19; and architect, artist and theorist Elizabeth Diller on Saturday, Jan. 20. Both lectures are free and open to the public and will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Carnegie Lecture Hall, 4400 Forbes Avenue.     

Adjaye's lecture takes place in conjunction with his exhibition "Gritty Brits: New London Architecture," which runs from Jan. 20 through June 3 at the Heinz Architectural Center at the Carnegie Museum of Art.    

"The Carnegie Mellon School of Architecture is very excited to bring two such outstanding practitioners to present their work to our community," said Laura Lee, head of the School of Architecture. "Adjaye and Diller are at the forefront of international practice, invigorating the field of architecture by combining it with other disciplines and seeking out new audiences in that process."    

Each year the Jill Watson Endowment Fund sponsors the effort to bring emerging and recognized artists, designers, musicians, architects and performers to Pittsburgh. The series is named in memory of Watson, a Carnegie Mellon alumna, adjunct faculty member in the School of Architecture and acclaimed Pittsburgh architect who died in the TWA Flight 800 plane crash on July 17, 1996.

Adjaye is a leading figure among young British architects. Born in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, he received his master's degree in architecture from London's Royal College of Art in 1993 and earned the Royal Institute of British Architects First Prize Bronze Medal that same year. Since establishing Adjaye Associates in 2000, his greatest interest has been to intensify the experience of spaces through an almost sculptural use of light, color, tone and materials. Adjaye's work has been internationally exhibited at the Venice Biennale of Architecture and the Sao Paolo Bienal. A sought-after lecturer, Adjaye has also presented and hosted programs on architecture for BBC radio and television.     

Diller is a principal in the collaborative interdisciplinary studio Diller Scofidio + Renfro. In 1999, they were the first architectural partnership to receive a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship for uniting design, performance and electronic media with cultural and architectural theory and criticism. The firm has earned numerous awards, including an Obie Award for Creative Achievement in Off-Broadway Theater for their multimedia theater work "Jet Lag," and a Progressive Architecture Design Award for the Blur Building, a structure made of fog for the Swiss Expo 2002. The group is currently working on a multifaceted expansion project for Lincoln Center and a townhouse in lower Manhattan.

The lecture series honors Watson's commitment to an interdisciplinary philosophy as an artist and celebrates her accomplishments and reputation as an architect.

"We think that these lectures will be a very fitting way to perpetuate the dynamic legacy of Jill Watson's accomplishments and interests. It is an honor to bring together these distinguished speakers and to invite the broader community to participate," Lee said.    

A reception will immediately follow each lecture. After the Adjaye lecture, the Carnegie Museum of Art will host a reception at the Heinz Architectural Center. Following the Diller lecture, the College of Fine Arts will host a reception in the Carnegie Museum of Art's Hall of Architecture. Both receptions are free and open to the public.     

For more information on the lecture series or the Jill Watson Endowment Fund, visit or contact Eric Sloss at 412-268-5765 or