BOSTON, May 13, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Noted architect, educator, and practitioner, Billie Tsien, architect of the Barack Obama Presidential Library, and a founding partner of New York City based studio Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners to receive an Honorary Doctorate and deliver The Boston Architectural College’s commencement speech at its graduation ceremony on Friday, May 27.
“It is an immense privilege to have Billie Tsien deliver the BAC’s commencement address to our graduating class in-person this year,” said President Mahesh Daas. “Her commitment to designing deeper and slower existential experiences grounded in an unmistakable sense of service, materiality and profound optimism complements the BAC’s own commitment to furthering social justice, inclusion, and diversifying design education.”
She has been recognized and celebrated with accolades including the National Medal of the Arts from President Obama, Thomas Jefferson Medal Award in Architecture, the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize, the 2013 Firm of the Year Award from the American Institute of Architects, and the 2019 Praemium Imperiale presented by the Japan Art Association, among many others.
Billie’s commitment and contributions to enacting a more resilient, beautiful, and diverse world is evidenced in many high-profile projects including the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park, Chicago; TATA Consultancy Services – Banyan Park, Mumbai, India; The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia; The Lefrak Center at Lakeside in Prospect Park, Brooklyn; The Asia Society Hong Kong Center, Admiralty, Hong Kong; and the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City.
The award citation at the 2013 National Medal of Arts presented by President Obama noted: “Whether public or private, their deliberate and inspired designs have a profound effect on the lives of those who interact with them, and their teaching and spirit of service have inspired young people to pursue their passions.”
Her practice is committed to reflecting the values of non-profit, cultural and academic institutions toward an architecture of enduring vision. In anticipation of her commencement speech, Billie Tsien reflected, “I have long admired the process of teaching at the BAC, which pairs practical experience with studio experience. Students learn both to solve problems and to imagine new ways of solving those problems. It is an education of roots and wings.”
In parallel to her practice, Billie teaches at Yale University as the Charles Gwathmey Professor in Practice, and is a devoted participant in the broader cultural community. She currently serves as a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, and has been inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, National Academy of Design, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. In 2021 Billie was appointed by President Biden to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, serving as the first Asian-American and woman to be Chair. She is steadfast in her mission to create a better world through architecture and support a broader and more diverse cultural landscape. Previous BAC honorees include Balkrishna Doshi, William J. Bates, Martha Schwartz, Robert J. Vila, and Moshe Safdie.
Founded in 1889, The Boston Architectural College (BAC) is an internationally recognized institution with a diverse student and alumni population representing more than 54 countries. Providing excellence in practice-integrated design education, the BAC was Ranked #1 for Best Graduate School in Architecture for Earning Potential and #4 for Best Architecture School Offering Bachelor’s Degrees in the U.S. in 2020 by GradReports. The BAC offers bachelor and graduate degrees in architecture, interior architecture, landscape architecture, design studies as well as offering continuing education certificates and courses. The BAC upholds the importance of inclusive admission, diversity, innovation, dedicated faculty, and the intrinsic value of both academic and experiential education.
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