Tod Williams received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University in 1965. He studied Architecture at Cambridge University in 1966 and received his Master of Fine Arts and Architecture from Princeton in 1967. He taught at the Cooper Union from 1974–1989, and has held visiting professorships at a number of schools of architecture since the mid 1980s. In 1982 he received an Advanced Fellowship from the American Academy in Rome. In 1995 Williams received The Ruth Carter Stevenson Chair at The University of Texas in Austin. He held the Eliel Saarinen Chair at the University of Michigan in 2002, the Louis I. Kahn Chair at Yale in 2003 AND 2005, and the Thomas Jefferson Chair in 2004 at the University of Virginia.
His work has been honored by The American Institute of Architects with numerous Distinguished Architecture Awards. In 1988 he received a National AIA Award for Feinberg Hall, a dormitory at Princeton University and in 1989, the firm again won a National AIA Award, this time for the Spiegel Pool House addition. In 1992 Williams and Tsien won two more National AIA Awards, this time for the Quandt Loft and for the Go Silk Showroom both in New York City. In 1997 the firm won a National Honor Award for the Neurosciences Institute. In 2001 they received 2 National AIA honor Awards for the Williams Natatorium at Cranbrook School and The Rifkind House in Long Island.
He and partner, Billie Tsien, have been recipients of several grants from the National Endowment of the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts. Williams has served on the Architectural Advisory Committee for Princeton University, the New York City and National AIA Awards Committees, and as Director of The Architectural League. In 1992 he was made a Fellow in the American Institute of Architects.
Tod Williams started his career by working for Richard Meier from 1967–1973 and has been registered since 1972. He has been principal of his own firm for the last twenty–nine years and in 1986 formed the partnership of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects. The studio is well known for its wide range of projects, its exceptionally high standards, and work which emphasizes the importance of place and explores the nature of materials.
Mr. Williams’ work has been published extensively and he has authored a number of articles. A monograph entitled Work/Life, published by Monacelli Press, was released in the fall of 2000.
Billie Tsien received her undergraduate degree in Fine Arts from Yale in 1971 and her Master in Architecture from UCLA in 1977. She has taught at Parsons, Yale, Harvard GSD, the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Pennsylvania. She shares with Tod Williams the Louis I. Kahn chair at Yale University.
She has worked with Tod Williams since 1977 and has been in partnership with him since 1986.
She and Tod Williams have received various awards for their work. The Natatorium at the Cranbrook School, the Rifkind residence, the Neurosciences Institute in La Jolla, California and two interior projects have all won National AIA Honor Awards. In December 2001, the office completed The American Folk Art Museum in New York City, the first new museum to be built in New York in more than thirty years. The museum has been recognized by Newsweek magazine as giving New York “a beautiful place to be.” In 2002 the museum received the Arup World Architecture award for Best Building in the World.
A monograph entitled Work/Life, published by Monacelli Press, was released in the fall of 2000. Her other completed projects include residences in New York City, Southampton, and Phoenix, Hereford College dormitory and dining facility at the University of Virginia, two major additions to the Phoenix Art Museum, and the Mattin Arts Center at Johns Hopkins University.
Billie Tsien has an interest in work that bridges art and architecture. She is on the advisory panel for the Wexner Prize. She is on the board of the Public Art Fund, the Architectural League, and the American Academy in Rome. She was a resident at the Academy in 1999. She is the recipient with Tod Williams of the Brunner Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Medal of Honor from the New York City AIA, and the Chrysler Award for Design Innovation, The Cooper Hewitt National Design Award in Architecture and the President’s Medal from the Architectural League.