Tod & Billie Musing #2
When Tod Williams and Billie Tsien talk about their working process, their architecture, they say more about personal experience and preference, and how it influences their work, much more than other architects. This perhaps owes to the duo's diverse background and their working and personal relationship, though whatever the reason it's a refreshing antidote to architectural jargon focused more on form than experience. Their occasional quips in the lecture the other night that situated the two as near polar opposites of each other reminded me of a conversation with Peter Zumthor published in a 2G monograph on the firm. Here's a relevant snippet.
Tod & Billie Musing #1
Peter Zumthor: I try to makes something as whole and complete and simple as possible in expectation of the future life of the building, or the use of the building to come. What would you say is different in the way you work?Previously:
Billie Tsien: We're looking for wholeness, too, but when we work on a project, it feels like a lot of stitches or different threads that come together, balancing the different pieces that are part of it. [...]
Tod Williams: [...] We take many of these stitches with a desire for wholeness but realizing, I think, that it won't come. And I'm not sure we want it to come.
Peter Zumthor: [...] How do you find out more about wanting or not wanting wholeness? Could it be connected with the relationship between the landscape and the piece of architecture? I know that I feel this passion for containment and space, a contained space, the intimacy of being protected by architecture.
Tod Williams: I'm never interested in that, although it's interesting when I see it in your work and desire it through your work. I would want a feeling that comes and goes, almost as if you could slide in and out of it. When it's very limited I feel alarmed.
Billie Tsien: I think, if I imagine a box, I'm looking for quiet and movement. But you, Tod, I think you're looking for the way out. The box would have corners that are not complete so that it contains you but you can always leave. I think even physically you feel trapped if you don't have a way out.
Tod Williams: I want multiple ways out, in fact.
Tod & Billie Musing #1