Launch Slideshow

Williams and Tsien are by far the oldest people in the studio, though they all work in the same space. Were kind of like the parents, Williams says. (Tsien strenuously disagrees.)

Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects

Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects

  • Tsien, 61, AIA, and Williams, 68, FAIA, have been working together for more than 30 years. Williams hired Tsien in 1977; he was her first employer. Williams and Tsien formed a full partnership in 1986, five years after the practice moved into a ground-floor space on Central Park. Within a very short period of time, I realized she was the best thing I could ever have, Williams says.

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    Tsien, 61, AIA, and Williams, 68, FAIA, have been working together for more than 30 years. Williams hired Tsien in 1977; he was her first employer. Williams and Tsien formed a full partnership in 1986, five years after the practice moved into a ground-floor space on Central Park. Within a very short period of time, I realized she was the best thing I could ever have, Williams says.

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    Jason Fulford

    Tsien, 61, AIA, and Williams, 68, FAIA, have been working together for more than 30 years. Williams hired Tsien in 1977; he was her first employer. Williams and Tsien formed a full partnership in 1986, five years after the practice moved into a ground-floor space on Central Park. "Within a very short period of time, I realized she was the best thing I could ever have," Williams says.

  • There's no bureaucracy at Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects. "Of course there are layers that happen over time, but the promotional layer, the admin layer doesnt exist," Williams says.

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    There's no bureaucracy at Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects. "Of course there are layers that happen over time, but the promotional layer, the admin layer doesnt exist," Williams says.

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    Jason Fulford

    There's no bureaucracy at Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects. "Of course there are layers that happen over time, but the promotional layer, the admin layer doesn't exist," Williams says.

  • The studio employs 30 designers, including 5 internspeople who will be returning to school.

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    The studio employs 30 designers, including 5 internspeople who will be returning to school.

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    Jason Fulford

    The studio employs 30 designers, including 5 interns—people who will be returning to school.

  • "It is a kind of homey situation," Williams says. "The fact is, the designation is residential and commercial. Weve kept it that way."

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    "It is a kind of homey situation," Williams says. "The fact is, the designation is residential and commercial. Weve kept it that way."

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    Jason Fulford

    "It is a kind of homey situation," Williams says. "The fact is, the designation is residential and commercial. We've kept it that way."

  • We interview people because we want them in the studio," Tsien says. "They come understanding that.

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    We interview people because we want them in the studio," Tsien says. "They come understanding that.

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    Jason Fulford

    "We interview people because we want them in the studio," Tsien says. "They come understanding that."

  • Many of the firms 30 employees bike to the studio, which has three showers and a full kitchen.

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    Many of the firms 30 employees bike to the studio, which has three showers and a full kitchen.

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    Jason Fulford

    Many of the firm's 30 employees bike to the studio, which has three showers and a full kitchen.

  • The studio expanded in 2000, assuming space formerly used by photographers.

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    The studio expanded in 2000, assuming space formerly used by photographers.

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    Jason Fulford

    The studio expanded in 2000, assuming space formerly used by photographers.

  • Despite their recent high-profile projects, the designers say that the firm is not growing any time soon. "We dont seek more large projects and we certainly do not seek to grow more people or grow the studio," Williams says.

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    Despite their recent high-profile projects, the designers say that the firm is not growing any time soon. "We dont seek more large projects and we certainly do not seek to grow more people or grow the studio," Williams says.

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    Jason Fulford

    Despite their recent high-profile projects, the designers say that the firm is not growing any time soon. "We don't seek more large projects and we certainly do not seek to grow more people or grow the studio," Williams says.

  • "Architecture in any studio is a long life and a long day and a lot of work. We recognize that and appreciate it," Tsien says.

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    "Architecture in any studio is a long life and a long day and a lot of work. We recognize that and appreciate it," Tsien says.

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    Jason Fulford

    "Architecture in any studio is a long life and a long day and a lot of work. We recognize that and appreciate it," Tsien says.

  • "To me its not so different from the kind of studio atmosphere you have in school," Tsien says. "They [the staff] often come in a little late, but they stay a lot later. Theres a lot of self determination."

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    "To me its not so different from the kind of studio atmosphere you have in school," Tsien says. "They [the staff] often come in a little late, but they stay a lot later. Theres a lot of self determination."

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    Jason Fulford

    "To me it's not so different from the kind of studio atmosphere you have in school," Tsien says. "They [the staff] often come in a little late, but they stay a lot later. There's a lot of self determination."

Tsien, 61, AIA, and Williams, 68, FAIA, have been working together for more than 30 years. Williams hired Tsien in 1977; he was her first employer. Williams and Tsien formed a full partnership in 1986, five years after the practice moved into a ground-floor space on Central Park. “Within a very short period of time, I realized she was the best thing I could ever have,” Williams says.

The studio expanded in 2000, assuming space formerly used by photographers. “The designation was residential and commercial,” Williams says. “Starting in 1981, we could only get a residential mortgage, because we couldn’t prove anything.”

Many of the firm’s 30 employees bike to the studio, which has three showers and a full kitchen.“To me, it’s not so different from the kind of studio atmosphere you have in school,” Tsien says. “We interview people because we want them in the studio. They come understanding that.”

Williams and Tsien are “by far” the oldest people in the studio, though they all work in the same space. “We’re kind of like the parents,” Williams says. (Tsien strenuously disagrees.)