Terence Riley

Architect / United States / Keenen/Riley (K/R)

(1954–2021). As an architect, museum professional, teacher, and critic, Terence Riley is an internationally recognized leader in the design and development of cultural facilities and programs with great architectural significance worldwide.

Riley has played a lead role in the architect selection and design processes for the renovation and expansion of The Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Miami Art Museum, and the Museum of Art, Design and the Environment (Murcia, Spain). In addition, Riley has served on international juries for numerous important projects, including the Reina Sofia National Museum (Madrid), the 9/11 Memorial at the Pentagon (Washington DC), and the Museum of Latin American Art (Buenos Aires). He has also served as an advisor to both the public and private sectors with regard to such projects as the Taiwan Tourism Infrastructure Development, the World Trade Center site redevelopment in New York City, and the West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong.

Riley is a founding partner of K/R (Keenen/Riley, 1984), an architectural studio well known for its designs for art museums, galleries, artists, and collectors. Riley studied architecture at the University of Notre Dame and Columbia University and is a licensed architect, certified nationally by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards. An acclaimed author and contributor to journals and other publications on design, he lectures frequently and has taught at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design and at numerous other architecture schools.

In 1991, Riley was invited to join the curatorial staff of The Museum of Modern Art, New York (MoMA). After having served as the senior curator in the field for 10 years, he was given the title of Philip Johnson Chief Curator for Architecture and Design in 2002, in recognition of his accomplishments. During his tenure at MoMA, Mr. Riley played a key role in the successful development and launch of MoMA’s expanded and renovated facility, which opened to international acclaim in 2004. He was also responsible for the design and installation of the new Architecture and Design Galleries, housing the preeminent collection of its kind in the world.

During his tenure as Chief Curator at MoMA, he focused primarily on thematic presentations of contemporary architecture and design, with the intention of raising public awareness of critical global issues. He organized exhibitions of well-known figures, including Rem Koolhaas and Bernard Tschumi, as well as presenting emerging voices. In addition to international architectural surveys, such as "Light Construction," "Tall Buildings," and "On-Site: New Architecture in Spain," Riley organized two major scholarly retrospectives: "Frank Lloyd Wright: Architect," a broad overview of the architect’s 64-year career; and "Mies in Berlin," the first in-depth investigation of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s early years. In addition to promoting new knowledge of the field, Riley’s exhibitions were recognized as having the highest attendance in the history of the museum. The Design Collection also grew substantially during his tenure with the acquisition of notable design objects, architectural drawings, and models from around the world, dating from the 18th to the 21st century.

Riley joined the Miami Art Museum (now Pérez Art Museum Miami) as its director in March 2006. In this role, Mr. Riley led the museum through the design phase of a major expansion. He led the museum’s Architect Selection Committee, which selected Herzog & de Meuron to design an innovative new waterfront home in Miami’s Museum Park. Subsequently, he oversaw a coordinated design process that involved architects, engineers, and consultants in Miami, Basel, New York, London, and Frankfurt. Unanimously approved by the museum’s trustees and the City of Miami government, the project has been awarded $100 million in public funding and is slated to break ground in 2010.

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