Yale School of Architecture Public Lecture Series
Professors Tsien and Williams discuss their design philosophy as it relates to their current work.
Billie Tsien and Tod Williams
William B. and Charlotte Shepherd Davenport Visiting Professors
November 6, 2014
This lecture was a surveys recent work the firm, Tod Williams/Billie Tsien Architecture including the new Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, PA; the Center for the Advancement of Public Action at Bennington College, VT; Tata Consultancy Services campus at Banyan Park, India; Savidge Library at the MacDowell Colony; Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment at Princeton University, NJ. The lecture draws connections between the projects, focusing on the theme of lasting - represented in a palette of durable materials and the care with which institutional clients are building for the future. Also evident in the work is a shared interest in using landscape to enrich the experience of place and sculptural responses to bringing natural light into the enclosures.
Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, co-founders and design partners of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects I Partners, in New York—and currently John C. Portman design critics at Harvard GSD—will share their working process through a discussion of recent projects, focusing on design from the inside out, and the importance of experience over form.
Annabelle Selldorf | Selldorf Architects
February 3, 2016
Annabelle Selldorf founded Selldorf Architects in 1988. She has worked at the intimate scale of residential design, in the public realm for cultural institutions, and at the infrastructural scale of a municipal recycling facility. Selldorf’s sensitivity to both program and material, as well as to spatial clarity and organizational rhythm, allow her to work nimbly within this wide range of architectural typologies.
She organizes her lecture around two projects, the Sims Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility in Brooklyn and the David Zwirner 20th Street gallery space in Chelsea. These projects exemplify Selldorf’s working philosophy of “paying attention to absolutely everything all the time” while also staying cognizant of the larger vision. She expands on her work with other clients and discusses her personal appreciation for art and artists, her family's history within furniture design, and her relationship to her native city of Cologne, Germany.
In this lecture, Selldorf discusses the following projects:
Neue Galerie New York | New York, NY
Sims Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility | New York, NY
David Zwirner 20th Street | New York, NY
10 Bond Street | New York, NY
Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego | La Jolla, CA
The Mwabwindo School | southern Zambia
Luma Arles | Arles, France
Vica, furniture design practice
The lecture is followed by a discussion with Billie Tsien, a co-founding principal of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners and President of The Architectural League of New York.
The Current Work series invites significant international figures who powerfully influence contemporary architectural practice and shape the future of the built environment to present their work and ideas to a public audience.
Recorded: October 24, 2012
In this excerpt from their 2012 Current Work lecture, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien discuss their projects the Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago, The Barnes Foundation Building, and the Lakeside Center in Prospect Park.
The Architectural League’s Current Work series presents the work of significant international figures, who powerfully influence contemporary architectural practice and shape the future of the built environment.
Dibattito 'Dialogue on Details' organizzato da Toshiko Mori con Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani, Tod Williams, Billie Tsien, Raymund Ryan, Wang Shu, David Chipperfield.
Discussion 'Dialogue on Details' organized by Toshiko Mori with Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani, Tod Williams, Billie Tsien, Raymund Ryan, Wang Shu, David Chipperfield.
Barnes Foundation Project Presentation
Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Architects
November 9, 2009
Tod Williams and Billie Tsien of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects present their design for a new home in Philadelphia for the Barnes Foundation’s world renowned art collection. In 2007, the Barnes Foundation Board of Trustees unanimously selected their firm from six entries in an invited interview process.
Currently housed in the former residence and gallery of Dr. Albert Barnes, who established The Foundation in 1922, the Barnes art collection will relocate in 2012, moving from suburban Merion, Pennsylvania to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Center City, Philadelphia. Maintaining the intimate character of the original, distinctive layout has been the foremost priority for the architects.
In its new location, the Barnes will become part of Philadelphia’s cultural corridor, joining landmarks such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Franklin Institute, the Rodin Museum, The Academy of Natural Sciences, The Free Library of Philadelphia, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. This new building will be the first addition to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in many generations, and will provide, according to the Foundation, “an enhanced and full-service visitor experience to one of the world’s greatest assemblies of art, fostering new opportunities for engagement, learning, and delight – for all audiences.”
The partnership of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects was established in 1986. During the past thirty years, the work of the office has garnered numerous local and national design awards, including over twenty-five awards from the American Institute of Architects, eight of which have been National AIA Honor Awards. In addition, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien have been the recipients of several important design honors, including the President’s Medal from the Architectural League of New York, the Chrysler Award for Innovation in Design, and the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Other museum projects by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects include the Phoenix Art Museum; the American Folk Art Museum in New York City; and a project currently underway in Hong Kong for the Asia Society.
Over the past three decades, Tod and Billie have developed a compelling body of work including the Barnes Foundation, LeFrak Center at Lakeside in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, Asia Society Hong Kong Center, David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center, Cranbrook Natatorium, and Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago, among others. In this time they have received more than three dozen awards from the American Institute of Architects, as well as numerous other national and international citations. Most recently, they received a 2013 National Medal of the Arts from President Obama, 2013 Firm of the Year Award from the American Institute of Architects, and 2014 International Fellowship from the Royal Institute of British Architects. Additional recognition includes the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Brunner Award, New York City AIA Medal of Honor, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award, Thomas Jefferson Medal in Architecture, Municipal Art Society’s Brendan Gill Prize, and Chrysler Award for Innovation in Design.
Outside the studio, Tod and Billie are active participants in the cultural community and maintain long-standing associations with numerous organizations devoted to the arts. Billie is the current President of the Architectural League of New York and a Director of the Public Art Fund; Tod serves as a Trustee of the Cranbrook Educational Community. Both are Fellows of the American Academy in Rome and have been inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, National Academy, and American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Parallel to their architectural practice, Tod and Billie maintain active academic careers and lecture worldwide. At various times, they have taught at the Cooper Union, Cornell University, Harvard University, University of Texas, City College of New York and Yale University. As both educators and practitioners, they are deeply committed to making a better world through architecture.
Billie Tsien was born in Ithaca, New York and received her undergraduate degree in Fine Arts from Yale University and her Master of Architecture degree from UCLA.
Monday, April 11, 2016
Tod Williams was born in Detroit, Michigan and received his undergraduate and Master of Fine Arts and Architecture degrees from Princeton University. They have worked together since 1977 and founded Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects I Partners in 1986.
After being introduced by David Gregor, Billie Tsien presents a lecture loosely organized around the term “touchstones.” First in reference to her experiences growing up as a female of Chinese descent. Tsien connects these this with her professional work, reviewing projects that range from two-dimensional collages
to large scale urban interventions. The projects engage issues of domestic life, public art, and commerce. The documentation of the projects stresses materials and construction details.