Gay partner inspires Diller Scofidio + Renfro

March 22, 2012 01:30PM

Since adding Charles Renfro as a partner at Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the architecture firm behind the third phase of the High Line and the Lincoln Center renovation, their work has taken on a “gay” quality.

In a profile of Renfro, Out magazine said he represents a breakthrough for an industry that long “more or less required” its professionals to be straight. For most of the 20th century, gay men were relegated to interior design while their straight counterparts, Out said, “seduce[d] women with phallic edifices.”

But Renfro is proud of his sexuality and believes that it informs his, and by extension DS+R’s, work.

“Our work is influenced by who we are,” he said. “I live in Chelsea, I have a house on Fire Island, I’m redesigning the Pines — how much more faggy can you get?”

Diller and Scofidio, who consider themselves outsiders as the former is a Polish-Jewish emigre and the latter has African-American heritage, attest that Renfro’s sexuality gives him a unique perspective that opens him to being more creative.

Now, the firm is among several designing a gay retirement community in Palm Springs. [Out]