Tod Williams and Billie Tsien formed their New York-based collaborative practice in 1986. The studio, which totals around 35 people, is known for successfully combining theory and practice, architecture, and the fine arts. The firm’s work emphasizes the importance of place and explores the nature of materials.
Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Architects have shown remarkable sensitivity to the institutional needs of the Barnes Foundation throughout the concept, design, and construction phases of the Philadelphia campus. The new building honors both the legacy of Dr. and Mrs. Barnes and the core educational mission of the Foundation through a series of spaces that maintain the intimate character of the gallery experience while allowing for greater access to the collections and programming. The design synthesizes the components of art, nature, education, and aesthetics—the guiding principles of the Foundation—resulting in a building whose soaring, light-filled indoor court, functional classrooms, and intimate galleries are surrounded by a series of external garden spaces.