Tod Williams and Billie Tsien: Barnes Foundation

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.