The first lecturers of the 2016 NLAA Public Lecture Series are Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, partners of the New York based studio Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners. Tod Williams was born in Detroit, MI and received his undergraduate, MFA, and Architecture degrees from Princeton University. Billie Tsien was born in Ithaca, NY and received her undergraduate degree in Fine Arts from Yale University and her Master of Architecture degree from UCLA. They began working together in 1977 and founded their studio in 1986.
Over the past three decades, they have developed a compelling body of institutional work. In this time they have received more than two dozen awards from the American Institute of Architects, as well as numerous other international citations. Most recently, they received a 2014 International Fellowship from the Royal Institute of British Architects, 2013 Firm of the Year Award from the American Institute of Architects, and 2013 National Medal of Arts from President Obama. 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 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. In parallel with their practice, they maintain active academic careers and lecture worldwide. At various times, they have taught at the Cooper Union, Harvard University, Cornell 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.