“To see architecture as profound optimism” is the foundational principle behind the work of Tod Williams and Billie Tsien.
The husband-and-wife team began working together in New York in 1977, establishing their firm nine years later in the same Central Park South studio where they still work today. As exemplified by important cultural projects such as the American Folk Art Museum (2001) and the recently completed Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, “matter, light, texture, detail, and most of all experience” are the essence of their architecture. Widely appreciated for its sensitivity, timelessness, and beauty, the firm has completed many arts projects, such as the Phoenix Museum of Art, the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center, and the Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago.
In conjunction with their 2012 Current Work lecture, an excerpt of which is presented below, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien sat down to discuss their work designing for the arts with Architectural League President Annabelle Selldorf of Selldorf Architects. Their 2009 presentation at the League for the then unbuilt Barnes Foundation is also available below.
Published: November 19, 2012
Three architects discuss designing for the arts
October 24, 2012 | Tod Williams and Billie Tsien | Excerpt from the 2012 Current Work lecture.
In the third installment of interviews with this year’s Emerging Voices, accompanied by videos from the lecture series, Donald Chong, Betsy Williamson, & Shane Williamson of Williamson Chong Architects and Mauricio Rocha Iturbide & Gabriela Carrillo Valadez of TALLER |MauricioRocha+GabrielaCarrillo| discuss their work.
Susana Torre draws on a 1977 League exhibition and publication on women in the architectural profession to consider the influence that feminism has had on architecture and urban planning and to reflect on how the discourse has and has not changed.
Announcing the five teams selected to participate in a design study, held in partnership with the Center for an Urban Future, that seeks to articulate new architectural, financial, and programmatic possibilities for New York’s branch libraries.
On the occasion of the announcement of the 2014 recipient of the Norden Fund grant, Kerry O’Connor, we highlight two travel reports in our ongoing series featuring grantee’s projects through their essays, photographs, and sketches.