Exclusive conversation with Tod Williams, C’61 and Billie Tsien, Architects of the Obama Presidential Center and the Williams Natatorium


The STUDIO Art Sale is now closed. Please contact CAAstudio@cranbrook.edu with any questions.

Attend a personal virtual presentation by esteemed architects, Tod Williams, C’61 and Billie Tsien, designers of the award winning Williams Natatorium, and current high profile projects such as the Frederik Meijer Gardens Expansion in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the Renovation of David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center in New York, and the new U.S. Embassy in Mexico City.


You and your guests are invited to enjoy an intimate conversation with Tod and Billie on their four decades long partnership, culminating in an exclusive view of the Obama Presidential Center.


Past presidential libraries have often emphasized story-telling – enshrining past achievements – while the Obama Presidential Center extends its reach as a place for story-making.The Center is designed as a campus integrated with landscape, comprising a museum tower, forum building and library surrounding a public plaza. The architecture is designed to embody the symbolic nature of the Obama Presidency while serving the pragmatic functions of an active institution inspiring local, national and international dialogue.


Fine Print: Mutually agreed upon date. Expires 4/30/2022.   


About Tod Williams and Billie Tsien 

Tod Williams along with his partner, Billie Tsien, founded their New York City based firm Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners in 1986.  Their practice is committed to reflecting the values of non-profit, cultural and academic institutions toward an architecture of enduring vision.  A sense of rootedness, light, texture, detail, and most of all, experience, are at the heart of what they design. 


Tod’s upbringing in the Cranbrook Community and Michigan has long influenced his interest, approach, and career in Architecture.  In 1999, their firm completed the Williams Natatorium for the Cranbrook Educational Community, which garnered national praise through a 2001 National Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA). 


Some of their other well-known projects include the Asia Society Hong Kong, Lefrak Center at Lakeside in Prospect Park and the Barnes Foundation in PhiladelphiaOver the past three decades, their dedication to this work has been recognized by numerous national and international citations including the National Medal of the Arts from President Obama, the 2013 Firm of the Year Award from the AIA, and the 2019 Praemium Imperiale presented by the Japan Art Association. 


In parallel with their practice, Tod and Billie are devoted participants in the broader cultural community with longstanding associations with many arts organizations.  In addition to being a trustee of the Cranbrook Educational Community, Tod is also a trustee 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.  


Tod and Billie continue to maintain active academic careers and lectures worldwide.  As educators and practitioners, they are deeply committed to creating a better world through architecture.