House Proud

Mayer Rus on Terence Riley's fiftieth


On the left: Patricia Cisneros and Terence Riley. On the right (from left to right): Rem Koolhaas, Terence Riley, Richard Meier. (Photos: Patrick McMullan/PMc)

Terry Riley, MoMA's chief curator of architecture and design, bounced back from the cringe-making Starck shindig in twenty-four hours, celebrating his fiftieth birthday at a jolly fête hosted by Patricia Cisneros (philanthropist-socialite), John Keenen (Riley’s business partner), and John Bennett (his “life partner,” to borrow a quaint phrase). The potentates of architecture and design who had been buzzing around the fair all week—and many who flew in to pay their respects to the man in charge of one of the largest and most important museum design collections in the world—converged for the festivities at Riley’s as-yet-unfinished Miesian courtyard house in the Design District. At this point, the house is little more than two horizontal concrete slabs with cinderblock walls, specially tagged in “festive” colors by local artists for the party. Another amusing detail: In lieu of buying additional insurance to underwrite the exploits of drunken revelers, Riley had the empty pool filled with multicolored inflatable gym balls, and at one point, Cisneros, Bennett, and Miami kingpin Craig Robins (Riley’s house may be the only Design District building he doesn’t own) all hopped in for a photo op.

Koolhaas was there. Rafael Viñoly turned up. The younger generation of starchitects was represented by Lindy Roy (of Vitra’s New York showroom fame) and OpenOffice's Galia Solomonoff (of Dia:Beacon fame), Michael Maltzan (of MoMA QNS fame), and UN Studio’s Ben van Berkel (of Wadsworth Atheneum fame—hey, wait, is that project still moving forward?). Speaking of younger generations, indefatigable party-boy Richard Meier showed up with two of his fetching “granddaughters”; it’s nice that he lets them stay up so late. After a week of networking orgies and commercial clusterfucks, and despite Riley’s best efforts (which included leading the crowd to the dance floor and, later, riding a red motor scooter through his house-to-be while posing for photos with friends), the party was an oasis of sweetness and civility.