Billie Tsien

Google will teach you that Billie is one of the most awarded and revered architects globally. She and her husband Tod lead Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects. The Obama's selected TWBTA to design The Obama Presidential Center. In the video above, she's working on a tapestry for the library.

A shortlist of her accolades. The 2013 National Medal of the Arts from President Obama, the 2013 Firm of the Year Award from the American Institute Architects, a 2014 International Fellowship from the Royal Institute of British Architects, the New York City AIA Medal of Honor, the Cooper­Hewitt National Design Award, the Thomas Jefferson Medal in Architecture.

I've delayed writing copy for this video until the last possible minute. What can one say that hasn't been covered by experts in her field, in keynote talks, by her resume. So I will keep it brief. I found Billie to be warm. And kind. So much so that it was unexpected. She's both serious and in good humor. Strong but gentle. Many contradictions that come from a deep awareness of self. And the willingness to be more than one thing at a time. I loved the time spent in her home. My time styling her. That she said she didn't want to look like an architect. And that she wanted to wear color.

This article, written by Billie and Tod in 1999, is in the bits and bobs section of their website. It had a profound effect on me and I strongly recommend: On Slowness

—Jill Wenger, Roucha Founder, June 2021
Directed by Taylor Tupy

EXTENDED AUDIO INTERVIEW
THE CLOTHES