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Hear acclaimed American architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien talk about their recent work, including the Barack Obama Presidential Center in Chicago, which is due to complete in 2021.
Tod Williams and Billie Tsien began working together in 1977, establishing their own practice in New York a decade later. The work of Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Architects | Partners (TWBTA) bridges architecture and art through a continuous exploration of materials.
The practice’s projects create large-scale spaces that contrast with a delicate use of space and light. This can be seen in the monumental blocks of the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia (2012) and the firm’s earlier American Folk Art Museum in New York (2001), which was controversially demolished to make way for an extension to MoMA in 2014.
Williams and Tsien’s compelling body of work combines a wide range of different scales for public and private clients. Among them are the Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago (2012), the Asia Society Center in Hong Kong (2012), the LeFrak Center in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park (2013), the Tata Consultancy Services in Mumbai (2014), and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment at Princeton University (2016).
Over the past three decades their work has received a number of international awards including the prestigious US National Medal of Arts in 2013, the 2013 AIA Architecture Firm Award, and the 1996 New York City AIA Medal of Honor.
The pair has combined practice with academia and they have held positions in some of the most prestigious universities in the US such as the Cooper Union, Harvard University, Cornell University, University of Texas, City College of New York, and Yale University.