Billie Tsien

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Dates of Birth and Death



Ithaca, New York


  • B.F.A, Yale (1971)
  • M.Arch., UCLA (1977)


  • Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects

Major projects

  • American Folk Art Museum, NY, 2001
  • Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, PA, 2012

Awards, honors and press

  • Chrysler Design Award (1998)
  • AIA 2013 Architecture Firm Award
  • Medal of Honor, NYC AIA Chapter

Related websites


New York, New York City


Early life and education

Billie Tsien was born in 1949 in Ithaca, New York. She received her undergraduate degree in Fine Arts from Yale in 1971, followed by her M.Arch. from UCLA in 1977. From 1971 to 1975, she worked as a painter and teacher.

Career in Architecture

Billie has worked with husband Tod Williams since 1977 in their firm Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects. Their work focuses on institutions such as museums, schools, and non-profits.

She serves on the boards of the Architectural League of New York and the Public Art Fund. She is also a vice president of the Municipal Art Society in New York City. She has served on panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, the Percent for Art jury for New York City and Seattle, and the Wexner Prize.

Major Buildings and Projects

The Neurosciences Institute, La Jolla, CA, 1995
American Folk Art Museum, New York, NY, 2001
C.V. Starr East Asian Library, University of Califnoria, Berkeley, CA, 2009
Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, PA, 2012
Lakeside Center, Prospect Park, New York, NY, 2013

Press and Awards

  • Medal of Honor, NYC AIA Chapter
  • Chrysler Design Award (1998)
  • AIA 2013 Architecture Firm Award


  • Billie Tsien, “The cuts through the heart”, in Archipelago: Essays on Architecture.
  • Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, The 1998 Charles and Ray Eames Lecture, Michigan Architecture Papers, University of Michigan Press, 1999.
  • Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, Work/Life, New York, Monacelli Press, 2000.

Institutional Affiliations

Billie has taught at Parsons School of Design, SCI-ARC, Harvard Graduate School of Design, Yale University, University of Texas at Austin, University of Virginia, and the University of Pennsylvania.