Lexi Tsien

Design Critic in Architecture

Lexi Tsien is an architect, educator, and co-founder of Soft-Firm based in Brooklyn, NY. Tsien is interested in new forms of representation, vernacular spatial practices, and their ability to shape and self-determine the built environment. Soft-Firm is a collective platform that is speculative and concrete: taking a playful and lo-fi approach to visual perception, elemental forms, and material contrast. Seeing architecture at the intersection of culture and built infrastructure, the firm reframes and draws social paradigms to empower communities. The practice has designed across multiple scales, including objects, interiors, and buildings, and has built work across various programmatic types – including domestic environments, cultural and commercial spaces, and public installations in New York City and Downtown Brooklyn.

Soft-Firm’s work has been featured in numerous publications, including PIN-UP, Surface Magazine, Metropolis, Architectural Record, AN Interior, PBS Newshour, Wallpaper’s Architects’ Directory of 2022, and as Architect Magazine’s Next Progressives. Tsien earned her Masters from the Yale School of Architecture and has a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Visual Arts from Columbia University. She has taught representation courses and design studios at the Yale School of Architecture, the Rhode Island School of Design, Parsons The New School, The Cooper Union, Columbia GSAPP, and Syracuse University. Before forming her own studio, Tsien worked at Bernard Tschumi Architects, Davies Toews, and Diller Scofidio in New York and Barkow Leibinger in Berlin.