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Indepth Arts News:

"Matter: The Work of Tod Williams and Billie Tsien"
2003-02-17 until 2003-05-04
Yale School of Architecture Galleries
New Haven, CT, USA United States of America

The first major exhibition of work by the acclaimed design team since their 1990 show, “Domestic Arrangements” at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, “Matter” will highlight nearly 20 years of the architects’ work. Built projects, such as the American Folk Art Museum in New York City, the Cranbrook Natatorium in Bloomfield Hills, MI, and the Phoenix Art Museum, and designs for a wide range of other projects will be represented by material samples, prototypes, furniture, wall panels and study models, among other artifacts.

Williams and Tsien have worked together since 1977 and been partners in their own design studio since 1986. In addition to their celebrated institutional projects, the architects have also taken on such disparate commissions as the costumes and movable stage set for the Elisa Monte Dance Company, an installation for Isamu Noguchi light sculptures and several residences, mainly in and around New York City.

Williams, who received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Princeton, was an associate in the office of Richard Meier before starting his own practice in 1974. His work has been honored by the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects with over 12 distinguished architecture awards. He 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.

Tsien is a graduate of Yale College and received her master’s degree from UCLA. Between college and graduate school, she concentrated on painting and embarked on her notable career as a teacher. Indeed, both Tsien and Williams have maintained busy academic schedules alongside their architectural practice. The Southern California Institute of Architecture, Parsons School of Design, Princeton, Harvard, Cooper Union, Columbia, the Rhode Island School of Design, the University of Texas at Austin and Helsinki University are among the many prestigious institutions where one or both have taught. In 2000, they shared the Louis I. Kahn Visiting Professorship at the Yale School of Architecture. In 2003, they are once again Louis I. Kahn Visiting Professors at Yale.

Tsien has served on the panels and advisory boards of organizations that include the National Endowment for the Arts, the Percent for Art Jury for the cities of New York and Seattle, the Public Art Fund, the Architectural League, the American Academy in Rome and the Municipal Art Society in New York. In April 2002, she was appointed by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to the board of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation.

Williams and Tsien have received numerous honors and awards for their work. Among them are 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. Their firm has won five National AIA Awards: from 1988 for Feinberg Hall, a dormitory at Princeton, to 1997 for the Neurosciences Institute in La Jolla, California.

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