Tod Williams Devastated Over Folk Art Museum’s Fate

© Flickr CC User Dan Nguyen

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 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 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. 

Dear MoMA, Couldn’t the Nouvel Tower Save the American Folk Art Museum?

© Flickr CC User Dan Nguyen

In this Metropolis Magazine post on MoMA‘s planned demolition of the American Folk Art Museum, Karrie Jacobs asks a strangely unasked question: How has the Nouvel Tower – in its day the most controversial of MoMA’s expansion plans - not been brought into the debate? The Jean Nouvel-designed tower was predicated up a circulation plan that, by necessity, ignored the (then occupied) Folk Art Museum entirely. Why is this plan no longer possible? Read the fascinating argument here.

Win a Copy of Tod Williams and Billie Tsien’s Newly Released “Wunderkammer”

Wunderkammer / Tod Williams and Billie Tsien. Image Courtesy of Yale University Press

UPDATE: Congrats to Josh Draper of Brooklyn, winner of the Wunderkammer ! Thank you to all those who participated. 

Thanks to our friends at Yale University Press, one of our readers has the opportunity to  win a copy of the newly released book Wunderkammer by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien.

Inspired by the idea of the wunderkammer—“wonder-room” or “cabinet of curiosities”—that originated during the Renaissance, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien invited 42 celebrated architects and designers to create their own cabinets filled with objects that inspire them. Wunderkammer (December 2013) showcases the varied, evocative results along with accompanying statements by their creators, including: Shigeru Ban, Toyo Ito, , Peter Eisenman, Steven Holl, Richard Meier, Murray Moss, Diébédo Francis Keré, Juhani Pallasmaa, Elias Torres, and Peter Zumthor.

For a chance to win, all you have to do is answer the following questions in the comment section below: “If one should open your wunderkammer, what would they find and how does it inspire your work?

You have until Monday, December 16th to submit your answers. The winner will be contacted the following day. Good luck!

Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects Design Ice Rink for NYC

Courtesy of / Dbox

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. 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.”

AIA 2013: Conscious Capitalism and the Future of Business

AIA president Mickey Jacobs © ArchDaily

Thousands have flocked to the Mile High City in Colorado to attend the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2013 National Convention. The three-day event was enthusiastically kickstarted this morning by AIA president Mickey Jacobs who honored Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects with the 2013 Architecture Firm Award; highlighted this year’s theme of leadership; and featured words of advice from TOMS founder and chief shoe giver, .

Learn TOMS Founder Mycoskie’s top advice for architects after the break. 

Designers React to Folk Art Museum’s Imminent Demolition

Courtesy of FolkMOMA

UPDATE: Since we first reported on this story, the Architectural League of New York has written an open letter to the MoMA, calling for “a compelling justification for the cultural and environmental waste of destroying this much-admired, highly distinctive twelve-year-old building.” Signatories include Steven Holl, Thoma Mayne, Richard Meier, and Robert A. M. Stern. You can find the letter here.

As we reported yesterday, the of Modern Art (MoMA) has announced their plans to demolish the 12-year old American Folk Art Museum, designed by Tod Williams & Bille Tsien. The MoMA, which has planned a new expansion on either side of Williams & Tsien’s building, claims that the building will prevent the floors from lining up and thus must be demolished. Moreover, officials claim that the building’s opaque facade isn’t in keeping with the MOMA’s glass aesthetic.

Designers and architects, outraged by the MoMA’s decision to destroy such a young and architecturally important part of New York’s urban fabric, are now challenging the validity of the MoMA’s claim. Not only has a petition been started to prevent the demolition, but many are pleading with MoMa to consider how the Folk Art Museum could be integrated into the new expansion. In fact, a Tumblr – crowdsourcing ideas for potential re-designs - has even been set-up.

See more designers’ reactions & suggestions on how to save the , after the break…

After 12 Years, Tod Williams & Billie Tsien’s NYC Gem To Be Demolished

© Michael Moran

“There are of course the personal feelings — your buildings are like your children, and this is a particular, for us, beloved small child. But there is also the feeling that it’s a kind of loss for architecture, because it’s a special building, a kind of small building that’s crafted, that’s particular and thoughtful at a time when so many buildings are about bigness.” – Billie Tsien, quoted in The New York Times 

After only 12 years, the Tod Williams & Billie Tsien-designed American Folk Art Museum is slated to be demolished. Despite the acclaim it has received from critics, including high praise from the likes of Paul Goldberger and Herbert Muschamp, and the importance it has been given in ’s architectural landscape, the Museum of Modern Art (, which bought the building in 2011) reports that it must tear down the building to make way for an imminent expansion.

At the time of its construction, the building was of the first new museums built in New York in over thirty years. Unfortunately, the building will more likely be remembered for its short life, taking, in the words of The New York Times reporter Robin Pogrebin, “a dubious place in history as having had one of the shortest lives of an architecturally ambitious project in Manhattan.”

Read more about the American Folk Art Museum’s imminent demolition, after the break…

2013 AIA Architecture Firm Award to Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects

Logan Center for the Arts, University of / . 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.

Tod Williams, FAIA, and Billie Tsien, AIA, have been working together since 1977, first forming their New York City-based practice in 1986. The pair, which has gained a reputation for excellence in designing public cultural and institutional buildings, has merited the honor thanks to their “exquisite care for detail,” “material integrity and sense of innovation.”

According to Toshiko Mori, who wrote of the couple in a recommendation letter: “Their work carries with it a spiritual value which transcends pragmatic solutions. Their projects respond to multiple and complex needs of clients, yet their solutions are simple and elegant. Their firm’s work brings forth the ideals of Modernism, yet is moderated with a contemporary sensibility and intelligence which makes their work rich, tactile, and useful.”

The firm will be honored at the 2013 AIA National Convention in Denver.

Story via the AIA 

Logan Center for the Arts, University of Chicago / Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects

© Tom Rossiter

Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Architects’ highly anticipated multidisciplinary arts center has opened at the in . Serving as a landmark on the south end of campus, the 184,000 square foot Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts is the new home to UChicago’s academic and extracurricular programs in cinema and media studies, creative writing, music, theater and performance studies, and the visual arts.

Inspired by the “flat prairies of the Midwest and the great towers of Chicago”, the new arts hub is comprised of a light-filled glass and stone tower and a three-story “podium” with a saw-tooth roof. The 170-foot tower houses a performance penthouse, screening room, rooftop deck, classrooms, rehearsal rooms, and performance labs, while the podium features studio space, music practice rooms, workshops, a café, a digital media center, production and editing labs, two theaters, and a 474-seat performance hall.

The University is pursuing LEED Silver Certification for the Logan Center, as the design features regionally sourced materials, a “green roof,” and solar panels.

More images and the architects’ description after the break…

Venice Biennale 2012: Wunderkammer / Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects

At the gardens of the Arsenale designed by Piet Oudolf, a small pavilion, the Casa Scaffali, encloses a fantastic world of smells, textures and artifacts, a Wunderkammer (wonder-room) curated by NY-based Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects.

A special group of architects and artists from around the world were invited to share the artifacts that inspire them, shipped in boxes to the Biennale.

We had the chance to interview Tod Williams and Billie Tsien during the opening of Wunderkammer, and we also got a chance to see them both and their team setting up the installation during the previous days, a special atmosphere as they were opening these boxes now turned into chests full of surprises.

© Nico Saieh

The group includes Anthony Ames, Marwan Al Sayed, Matthew Baird, Shigeru Ban, Marlon Blackwell, Will Bruder, Wendell Burnette, Johan Celsing, Taryn Christoff and Martin Finio, Annie Chu and Rick Gooding, W.G. Clark, Brad Cloepfil, Chen Chen and Kai Williams, Elizabeth Diller, Ricardo Scofidio and Charles Renfro, Peter Eisenman, Steven Holl, Stephen Iino, Toyo Ito, Bijoy Jain, Claudy Jongstra, Diébédo Francis Kéré, Jennifer Luce, Thom Mayne, Richard Meier, Murray Moss, Glenn Murcutt and Wendy Lewin, Enrique Norten, Sheila O’Donnell and John Tuomey, Juhani Pallasmaa, Mack Scogin and Merrill Elam, Brigitte Shim and Howard Sutcliffe, Karen Stein, Elias Torres and José Antonio Martínez Lapeña, Ursula Von Rydingsvard, and Peter Zumthor.

Text from the architects after the break:

The Barnes Foundation / Tod Williams + Billie Tsien

Looking south east at night. The Barnes Foundation . © 2012 Tom Crane

Last year, The Barnes Foundation - Albert Barnes collection of French Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, early Modern paintings and horticulture – began its move from its original location in Merion, Pennsylvania to a new building designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien in Philadelphia.  Close to five years in the making, the “Gallery in a Garden” Barnes Foundation Building officially opened on May 19, 2012. The design was predicated on the arrangement of the galleries within the original building and a desire to invite new programs into the scheme, such as a garden and classrooms.

Continue reading to learn more. 

Kimball Art Center / Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects

Courtesy of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects

Rather than trying to compete with the sublime landscape of , 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 .

More on this proposal after the break.

Kimball Art Center Shortlist

Proposal - Courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group

In 1976, art enthusiast Bill Kimball transformed the 1929 Kimball Bros automotive garage into a non-profit community center for the visual arts, now known as the Kimball Art Center. Located in the heart of downtown Park City, , the non-profit center serves as a gathering place for individuals to experience art through education, exhibitions and events. The aging historic building is in need of restoration and an addition that will allow the organization to increase their educational outreach and enhance the quality and scale of the exhibitions, while maintaining free admission to the public.

BIG, Brooks + Scarpa, Sparano + Mooney Architecture, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Architects, and Will Bruder + Partners LTD are the five architects selected to submit final proposals for the transformation of the Kimball Art Center.

Continue after the break to watch each firm’s introductory presentation.

Museum Closure Exposes Financial Risk of Signature Architecture

© Michael Moran

NEW YORK–Although the American Folk Art Museum has avoided dissolution thanks to a cash infusion from trustees and the Ford Foundation, the institution’s ongoing financial troubles raise difficult questions about the relationship between and cultural capital.

The Barnes Foundation on the Parkway / Tod Williams + Billie Tsien


© The Barnes Foundation

The last chance to see the Barnes Foundation’s artwork in its original setting has passed. It is now being prepared for the move to its new home in downtown . Architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien designed the new building for the Barnes Foundation with respect for its strong history and as a reflective addition of the foundation’s mission. The building is scheduled for completion in late 2011.  More after the break.

In Progress: Tata Consultancy Service Banyan Park / Tod Williams + Billie Tsien

©

British Architectural photographer Edmund Sumner just sent us some photographs he took on a trip to Mumbai on April this year of a new building designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien for TATA, showing some great Skylights on different storeys. More images after the break.

American Folk Art Museum / Tod Williams + Billie Tsien

© Michael Moran

“You do not have to look at it for long before you realize that this is as sensual a building as New York has seen in a very long time,” stated Pulitzer-prize winning architecture critic Paul Goldberger of the American Folk Art . Completed by architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien in 2001 the is 40 feet wide and 100 feet long and is surrounded by the of Modern Art on three sides. It was the first new built in New York in over three decades.

More on the after the break.

The Long Island Residence / Tod Williams + Billie Tsien

© Michael Moran

Stretched upon three acres of land in the Hamptons in Long Island, , the Long Island Residence by architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien is a quiet, serene home that blends in with the tranquility of nature that surrounds it. Also known as the Rifkind residence, Williams and Tsien designed the house for clients Robert, a lawyer, and Arleen Rifkind, a pharmacolegy professor, and their children. Due to their busy city lives in Manhatten, the Rifkinds wanted a weekend retreat where they could go with family and friends to relax and embrace the outdoors. Therefore the solution, in the words of Williams and Tsien, was “a house that is marked by quiet serenity, openess to the landscape, and a sense of spaciousness without monumentality.”

More on the Long Island Residence after the break.