Technogym
Technogym
Technogym

Tod Williams and Billie Tsien receive Praemium Imperiale Award

We really want our buildings to sit well and feel as if, in a certain way, they’ve always been there. But then we want to create an experience when you go in that surprises you and completely takes you out of the sense of: ‘this has always been there’
– Billie Tsien

New York-based Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, who are currently designing the Barack Obama Presidential Center, have received the 2019 Praemium Imperiale Award for architecture.

The global arts prize is awarded annually across five categories by the Japan Art Association to honour recipients for their “outstanding contributions to the development, promotion and progress of the arts”.

Speaking at the announcement of the 2019 laureates, former British Governor of Hong Kong and current advisor for Praemium Imperiale Lord Patten of Barnes said: “It is not unreasonable to consider [the Praemium Imperiale] the arts equivalent of the Nobel Prize.”

In announcing Williams and Tsien as the 2019 laureates for architecture, Praemium Imperiale described the duo’s work as having “strong values of beauty, timelessness and what they describe as “art and use’”. It described their belief that architecture is an act of “profound optimism”, a service that can reflect the values of public institutions that share this view and their strong social commitment to buildings the public can enjoy.

“We really want our buildings to sit well and feel as if, in a certain way, they’ve always been there,” explains Billie Tsien. “But then, we want to create an experience when you go in that surprises you and completely takes you out of the sense of: ‘this has always been there’.”

Williams and Tsien’s approach is described as a collaborative process that is intentionally slow and one that favours designing by hand over digital means.

Expanding on this, Tod Williams says: “I’m drawing to try to talk to myself and the drawing into others. It’s slowing it down so we can be in conversation with what we’re doing.”

Discussing their current work on the Barack Obama Presidential Center in Chicago, Williams says: “We use the words enable and enoble. One of them is in a way creating a kind of myth, like putting a person on a pedestal, and the other one is, in a way, grounding it. So, I think that’s the primary struggle with that project.”

Elsewhere, they have worked on the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, the LeFrak Center at Lakeside in Brooklyn and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment in New Jersey. The couple have worked together since 1977 and established their practice, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, in 1986.

“We’ve been talking about trying to just leave the world better,” says Tsien. “If you can really try to act on that all the time, I think in large and small ways it can be quite profound.”

Each Praemium Imperiale laureate receives a commemorative gold medal and an honorarium of 15 million Yen (around £100,000). The awards will be presented at a ceremony in Tokyo, Japan, this October.

Tod Williams  Billie Tsien  Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects  Praemium Imperiale 
Related stories
14 Sep 2016

Paulo Mendes da Rocha wins prestigious Praemium Imperiale architecture prize

01 Jul 2016

Obamas choose New York architects to lead design of their presidential library and museum

New York-based Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, who are currently designing the Barack Obama Presidential Center, have received the 2019 Praemium Imperiale Award for architecture. The global arts prize is awarded annually across five categories by the Japan Art Association to honour recipients for their “outstanding contributions to the development, promotion and progress of the arts”. Speaking at the announcement of the 2019 laureates, former British Governor of Hong Kong
AAC,ARC,DES,CLD
Williams and Tsien are currently designing the Barack Obama Presidential Center / Taylor Jewell
More news
News stories: 1 - 30 of 7676     
 
 
 
News stories: 1 - 30 of 7676     
 
 
 
company profile
Company profile: Fabio Alemanno Design Ltd
Based on ancient knowledge – and confirmed by scientific research – warmth is one of the most important sources of healing and preventative therapy available.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
features
The Center for Sustainable Landscapes in Pittsburgh, US
José Almiñana
"We are committed to designing evocative landscapes informed by the best environmental science"

The Andropogon principal on pushing the boundaries of landscape design for the benefit of humans and nature

The book was published in 2019 by RIBA Publishing
Elina Grigoriou
"Temperature, noise level and colour affect our stress levels. As designers we should be asking ourselves, how do these things match up?"

The London-based interior designer and wellness expert hopes her new book will help readers understand how to design with wellbeing in mind

Francis graduated as a landscape architect in Belgium. He returned to Lebanon in 1993
"I believe gardens are where the soul rests"

With a focus on desert landscapes and collaborations with Zaha Hadid and OMA, the principal of Francis Landscapes has a deep belief in the power of nature

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
Three flights of wide steps invite the visitor into the building.
Alexander Schwarz
"Our aim was to create a place celebrating public space and accessibility"

The opening of the James-Simon- Galerie on Berlin’s Museum Island completes two decades of work for David Chipperfield Architects. The lead designer talks us through the building

Collaboration is at the heart of NBW’s working practices
Thomas Woltz
"I am very proud of stewarding the largest public space to be built in Manhattan in a century"

The Wall Street Journal’s Design Innovator of the Year on designing the gardens at Hudson Yards and looking to the Native Americans for ideas on how to create a resilient future

features
"Sam was such a champion for the team, and my goal is simply to carry that same torch"

As Blackberry Mountain resort opens in Tennessee, we find out why the project is a deeply personal one for owner Mary Celeste Beall

Health & Fitness: Working it
"We’ve designed the space so that the atmosphere is intimate"

Les Mills’ new studio spaces at its iconic Auckland City Gym showcase a trend away from masculine ‘grunty’ gyms to something altogether different

Scott and Tracy Lee met while working on Calistoga Ranch, US
Scott Lee became president of SB Architects in 2000. Tracy Lee founded TLee Spas in 2015
"We design to connect the guest to the place, positioning people at the centre of the design"

Architect Scott Lee and spa consultant Tracey Lee on marrying the worlds of design and wellness in a series of interesting projects

cladkit product news
Móz Designs columns anchor the world’s largest indoor aquarium
The design of the columns was inspired by the sea
Magali Robathan
After a two-year renovation, Oakland-based metal experts Móz Designs have unveiled their inclusion in Georgia Aquarium’s new shark gallery. Located ...
Eden project uses drones to spell out climate change warning
Magali Robathan
Almost 300 drones were used to signal an environmental message above the Eden Project’s biomes, during the UN Climate Change ...
Jaffe Holden helps bring Academy Museum of Motion Pictures alive
Jaffe Holden provided architectural acoustics for the Academy Museum
Magali Robathan
Acoustical consulting firm Jaffe Holden provided architectural acoustics and audio/video design services for the recently opened Academy Museum of Motion ...
cladkit product news
Cosm unveils Experience Centre with ‘one of a kind’ LED dome
The new Experience Centre houses a 20m LED dome
Magali Robathan
Cosm, a global technology company that builds end-to-end solutions for immersive experiences, has unveiled its Experience Centre which houses a ...
Fabio Alemanno Design uses elegant semi-precious stones to create memorable spa experiences
Alemanno believes the stones are well-placed in the spa environment thanks to their capacity to positively support physical and mental health
Megan Whitby
Fabio Alemanno Design has expanded its collection with semi-precious stones to enhance spas, wellness facilities, hotels and private residences. The ...
Codelocks develops new glass door smart lock
The new lock model allows facilities and building managers to create and manage access via an app or online portal
Megan Whitby
Codelocks has launched its first glass door smart lock to bring intelligent access control to modern spa, leisure, fitness and ...
cladkit product news
Diamond balloon concept merges tourist attraction with advertising billboard
Magali Robathan
A group of Dutch engineers have presented a new attractions concept that combines a flying observation cabin with LED digital ...
Alberto Apostoli and Newform collaborate to launch the A.Zeta showerhead
The showerhead offers two modes; rainfall or waterfall
Megan Whitby
Italian architect Alberto Apostoli has renewed his partnership with Newform – an Italian wellness company – and designed A.Zeta. A.Zeta ...
Alberto Apostoli designs tech-forward Wellness Therapy furniture collection for Varaschin
The furniture collection draws on absolute geometries, pure lines, neutral colours and strong references to nature
Megan Whitby
Furniture manufacturer Varaschin has unveiled the new Wellness Therapy range, designed by Italian spa and wellness architect and designer Alberto ...
x
Sign up with CLAD for regular news updates
Technogym
Technogym