New plans of Obama Presidential Center (OPC) in Chicago

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Architects Tod Williams & Billie Tsien

Tod Williams & Billie Tsien. They began working together in 1977 and co-founded our architectural practice in 1986. Located in Midtown Manhattan, their studio focuses on work for institutions including schools, museums, and not-for-profits—organizations and people that value issues of aspiration and meaning, timelessness and beauty. They believe that architecture is the coming together of art and use. Their buildings are carefully made from the inside out to be functional in ways that speak to both efficiency and the spirit. A sense of rootedness, light, texture, detail, and most of all, experience, are at the heart of what we design. From the early sketches through construction completion, they are personally involved in every project their studio takes on.

Over the past three decades theye have received more than two dozen awards from the American Institute of Architects as well as numerous national and international citations. Outside the studio, they are active participants in the cultural community and have long-standing associations with many arts organizations. Parallel to their practice, they maintain active academic careers and lecture worldwide. As both educators and practitioners, they are deeply committed to making a better world through architecture. 

Tod Williams (born 1943, Detroit, Michigan) received his undergraduate, MFA, and Master of Architecture degrees from Princeton University, New Jersey after graduating from the Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills. He is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome and serves as a Trustee of the Cranbrook Educational Community. He has been inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, National Academy, and American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Billie Tsien (born 1949, Ithaca, New York) received her undergraduate degree in Fine Arts from Yale University and her M. Arch. from UCLA. She has worked with Williams since 1977 and they have been in partnership since 1986. Tsien is currently President of the Architectural League of New York and Director of the Public Art Fund. She has been inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, National Academy, and American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Tsien was one of the recipients of the Visionary Woman Awards presented by Moore College of Art and Design in 2009.

Tod Williams & Billie Tsien.  Teaching. Williams and Tsien have taught at the Cooper Union, Harvard University, Cornell University, University of Texas, City College of New York, and Yale University.

Recognition. Williams and Tsien are the recipients of more than two dozen awards from the American Institute of Architects. They received a 2014 International Fellowship from the Royal Institute of British Architects and the 2013 Firm of the Year Award from the American Institute of Architects. In 2013, each were awarded a National Medal of Arts from President Obama. They have also received the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Brunner Award, the New York City AIA Medal of Honor, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award, the Thomas Jefferson Medal in Architecture, the Municipal Art Society’s Brendan Gill Prize, and the Chrysler Award for Innovation in Design.

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