Interior Design Hall of Fame member Tod Williams, co-founder of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners, shares insight about the firm's design concept for a New Hampshire arts facility.
To understand a project in as few words as possible here at Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners, Billie and I use drawings to converse with each other. I have maybe 150 pens and pencils on my desk. If there’s a pen in front of me, I intuitively pick it up. The drawings themselves are insignificant. There’s only one search, and it’s for the final product. I sketch rather quickly, not worried about the quality.
This project, the David E. Goel and Stacey L. Goel Center for Theater and Dance at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, is a statement for us, a guiding light. I thought of the building like a beehive, with the performers, students, and audience as the bees. The brick exterior is muted, much like a hive’s, but inside it’s full of activity. I believe the interior is the most important part of any building.
Drawing on white tracing paper with a black Sharpie, I was trying to understand the nature of the building. I wrote ‘beehive’ with Wite-Out, and the yellow is just a desk highlighter. As I get older, I’m less interested in the precision of the drawing, and more interested in the precision of the building.