Elizabeth Diller

The Mile-Long Opera: a biography of 7 o'clock

Series: New Canonical Histories
Date: Thursday 3 October 2019
Time: 18:30
Venue: AA Lecture Hall
Running time: 0 mins

Please note: This lecture will be ticketed, with tickets released on Monday, 30 September at 10am. All our events are free and open to the public but popular lectures are ticketed to monitor capacity in the Lecture Hall. To reserve a seat at the lecture, please visit the following link: and sign in with your membership details. Priority will be given to AA Students, Staff and Members. Find out more about how to become an AA Member.

Elizabeth Diller will present The Mile-Long Opera, a citywide public engagement project that brought together 1,000 singers from across New York for free performances on the High Line. This collective, free choral work shared personal stories from hundreds of New Yorkers about life in our rapidly changing city. After working on the design of the High Line for over a decade and witnessing the rapid transformation of the surrounding area, Diller thought a lot about the life cycle of the city—its decay and rebirth—full of opportunities and contradictions. This vantage presented an opportunity for creative reflection about the speed of change of the contemporary city and the stories of its inhabitants. The park was a 30-block-long urban stage for an immersive performance in which the audience was mobile, the performers were distributed, and the city was both protagonist and backdrop for a collective experience celebrating our diversity. The work focused on the changing meaning of 7:00 pm, the time the performance began each evening, and a time that represents a transition from day to night, when people shift from one activity to the next. It is also a time traditionally associated with family, stability and home, yet today, those associations are less predictable. The diverse stories told in The Mile-Long Opera were inspired by first-hand interviews with New Yorkers from all walks of life. Their individual experiences reflect unique ways of coping with the contemporary condition—anxiety, humor, nostalgia, vulnerability, joy, and outrage—that together form a biography of 7 o’clock. Elizabeth Diller co-created, co-directed and co-produced The Mile-Long Opera. 

Elizabeth Diller is a founding partner of Diller Scofidio + Renfro. She is currently leading two significant cultural works in New York: The Shed, a multi-arts center, and the expansion of MoMA (both opening 2019). Additional current projects include the Centre for Music, a permanent home for the London Symphony Orchestra and a new Collection and Research Centre for the V&A in London’s Olympic Park.

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The Architectural Association receives Taught Degree Awarding Powers by the Lords of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council.

The Architectural Association (AA), the oldest independent school of architecture in the United Kingdom, is pleased to announce that it has been granted the power to award its own degrees. As of 1 October 2019, the AA has the right to establish new academic programmes and degree awards and is working to create some of the world’s most pioneering courses in architecture to shape and build the future.

Taught Degree Awarding Powers (TDAP) give UK higher education institutions the right to award bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Prospective students worldwide can apply to the AA Foundation Course (Foundation Diploma), Experimental Programme BA(Hons), Diploma Programme (MArch), and nine taught postgraduate programmes encompassing History and Critical Thinking in Architecture (MA), Projective Cities (Taught MPhil) and Sustainable Environmental Design (MSc/MArch), amongst others.

AA Director, Eva Franch said, ‘since our founding in 1847 we have never ceased to create new horizons, institutionally and academically. This is a significant milestone for the AA and demonstrates how we have grown and progressed as an institution that has always valued independence. Receiving TDAP marks a new era for our institution; these are exciting times for the AA. The process has required considerable work from all members of staff and students. I would like to take this opportunity to credit them for this major achievement’.

President of the AA Council, Victoria Thornton added, ‘the TDAP process has recognised our strong governance, academic standards, scholarship and teaching as well as the environment supporting the delivery of taught higher education programmes’.

The School’s application for Taught Degree Awarding Powers was supported by the Architects Registration Board, the Royal Institute of British Architects and The Open University.