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Watch Now: Cool Spaces! First Full Episode Online Features North America's "Art Spaces"

Cool Spaces! The Best New Architecture has released their first full episode online. The PBS television series, hosted by Boston-based architect and professor Stephen Chung, AIA, profiles the most provocative and innovative public space architecture in North America. With the general public as its targeted audience, each hour-long episode is organized around a central theme - such as Art Spaces - and profiles three buildings. In this episode, Chung discusses what makes Tod Williams Billie Tsien’s Barnes Foundation, Steven Holl's Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and Phil Freelon's Harvey B. Gantt Center so cool. 

“People often ask me what Cool Spaces is all about. And I never can answer without giving a bit of background,” says host Stephen Chung. “You see, it really begins over seven years ago, during the recession, which decimated the architecture profession. In a four-year span, approximately 30% of all architecture jobs in the U.S. were lost — including my own. This time away from practice allowed me to reflect on the profession and its problems and to think about what role I might play in bringing about some positive change."

Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Awarded National Medal of Arts

Tod Williams and Billie Tsien have been awarded the National Medal for Arts by the National Endowment for the Arts. The duo, known for projects such as the Barnes Foundation and for the controversy surrounding the demolition of their 2001 American Folk Art Museum last year, will be rewarded for their "deliberate and inspired designs" as well as their services in teaching. The medals will be awarded to them by President Obama in a ceremony on July 28th. Also receiving a medal will be Johnpaul Jones of Seattle firm Jones & Jones, who will be the first Architect to receive the National Humanities Medal in the Award's 17-year history. Find out more about the awards at World-Architects.

Tod Williams & Billie Tsien Selected for New UCSC Institute of Arts and Sciences

The University of California, Santa Cruz have selected Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects to design their new Institute of the Arts and Sciences building, a 30,000 square foot building containing exhibition spaces, seminar rooms, studios and offices, a café, and ample public gathering areas.

Set into a natural landscape of redwood trees and with views over Monterey Bay, Williams & Tsien's building avoids monumental or sculptural gestures, instead creating a dialogue with the site, with a series of paths, bridges and open spaces criss-crossing the site to provide a rich network of spaces.

More on the design after the break.

Concept Model. Image © Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects Arrival in Meadow Plaza. Image © Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects View through the redwood trees toward the Institute. Image © Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects View from Pedestrian Bridge towards the Institute. Image © Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects

Tod Williams Devastated Over Folk Art Museum's Fate

Tod Williams has broke his silence in his first interview since the Museum of Modern Art announced their decision to raze the former Folk Art Museum, expressing devastation that the building will be “reduced to a memory.”

“Yes, all buildings one day will turn to dust, but this building could have been reused,” Tod Williams. “Unfortunately, the imagination and the will were not there.”

Though MoMA has promised to preserve the building’s iconic copper-bronze facade, Williams is concerned it will forever stay in storage. 

Proposals are being suggested on how to resurrect the facade, as the New York Times reported, including a concept from Nina Libeskind, chief operating officer of Studio Daniel Libeskind, and AIA New York executive director Fredric M. Bell that will be presented to MoMA next week. However, Williams expressed disinterest at the idea of installing fragments of the building elsewhere. 

Three Shortlisted to Design New UCSC Art and Science Institute

UPDATE: Three teams have been selected to move forward in the competition: Allied Works Architecture (Portland/New York), Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects (New York), and the team of Patkau Architects (Vancouver, B.C.) and Fong & Chan Architects (San Francisco). The finalists will present their proposals April 3 and a winner will be announced shortly after.

Seven high-profile teams have been shortlisted to design a new research, museum and performing arts center for the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). Planned for a stunning site overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the $32 million project is intended to be “an innovative educational experiment” that will “blur the lines between disciplines to beautiful effect.” The shortlist ranges from Steven Holl to Tod Williams Billies Tsien. The complete list of competitors, after the break. 

MoMA to Preserve Folk Art Facade

Though it has been confirmed that Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Museum of Modern Art expansion will result in the demise of Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Architects' American Folk Art Museum, the New York Times has confirmed that the beloved copper-bronze facade will be preserved. 

“We will take the facade down, piece by piece, and we will store it,” Glenn D. Lowry, the director of the Museum of Modern Art, said in an interview. “We have made no decision about what happens subsequently, other than the fact that we’ll have it and it will be preserved.”

Confirmed: American Folk Art Museum to Be Demolished

In a statement released last night, Glenn Lowry, the director of the MoMA, confirmed that the American Folk Art Museum, designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Architects, will be demolished in order to make way for a re-design and expansion spearheaded by Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R).

More information - and the critics' reactions - after the break.

Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, Diller Scofidio + Renfro Among Shortlist for Vancouver Art Gallery

In an odd twist of fate, the architects of the soon-to-be-demolished American Folk Art Museum, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, and the architects spearheading the MoMA redesign (that will require its demolition), Diller Scofidio + Renfro, will soon compete to design the Vancouver Art Gallery. Joining them on the impressive shortlist are Herzog & de Meuron, KPMB Architects, and SANAA. More after the break.

Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects Design Ice Rink for NYC

After sitting derelict for years, the Kate Wollman Memorial Rink in Brooklyn's Prospect Park is poised for something of a rebirth. Tod Williams and Billie Tsien's plans for a sports complex, known as Lakeside, is expected to restore the rink's role as the park's chief attraction. Michael Kimmelman recently stopped by the site to explore the project as it nears completion - click here to read his thoughts on what he calls one of the last "parting gifts of the Bloomberg era to the city."

2013 AIA Architecture Firm Award Awarded to Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects

Logan Center for the Arts, University of Chicago / Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects. Photo © Tom Rossiter
Logan Center for the Arts, University of Chicago / Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects. Photo © Tom Rossiter

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Board of Directors has announced that Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects will receive the 2013 AIA Architecture Firm Award. 

Williams Tsien and Davis Brody Bond selected for new U.S. Embassy in Mexico City

The Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) has announced the selection of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects and Davis Brody Bond to design the New Embassy Compound (NEC) in Mexico City, Mexico. After an intense round of presentations and interviews, the duo was selected from a talented shortlist of nine architectural/engineering teams. As reported on the Latin American Herald Tribune, the jury believed that “their portfolio of work is compatible to the local culture and shows sensitivity that highlights their connection to the character of the site.”

Kimball Art Center / Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects

Courtesy of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects
Courtesy of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects

Rather than trying to compete with the sublime landscape of Utah, New York City based Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects chose to create a building that framed the views and contained a perspective from which to appreciate the alpine landscape.  This design is one of five proposals for the transformation of the Kimball Art Center in Park City. More on this proposal after the break.

Courtesy of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects Site Plan 01 - Courtesy of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects Section 01 - Courtesy of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects Sketch 01 - Courtesy of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects