The U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) announces its decision on 17 June 2021 to name Billie Tsien, an architect and founder of the New York-based studio Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners, as the new Chair of the Commission. At the same meeting, the Commission voted Hazel Ruth Edwards, professor and chair of the Department of Architecture of the College of Engineering and Architecture of Howard University in Washington, D.C., as Vice Chair. The election of Ms. Tsien and Ms. Edwards is a milestone for the Commission: Tsien is the first woman and first Asian American to serve as Chair, and Edwards is the first African American woman to serve as Vice Chair; this is the first time both CFA leadership roles have been held by women.
The CFA is an independent federal agency charged with giving expert advice to the President, the Congress, and the federal and District of Columbia governments on matters of design and aesthetics as they affect the federal interest and preserve the dignity of the nation’s capital. The Commission is composed of seven presidentially appointed experts in relevant disciplines, including art, architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design.