28 June 2018
28 June 2018
KPF, New York: Collaboration, Quality, Pride.
The Culture of Practice
KPF consists of 550 staff led by 25 principals, with offices in New York, London, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul, and Abu Dhabi. In the New York studio, passionate young architects work alongside the most experienced hands, blending wisdom with fresh inspiration.
The firm began with the idea of solving large urban problems in architecture. As a place where many ideas about architecture are played out, New York is both a laboratory and a place that has served as a source of work for the firm since 1976.
The emphasis on the pride of the work is as high as it gets. “We are not a single name, single genius, single originator of architectural philosophy,” says James von Klemperer, President and Design Principal at Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, where he has worked since 1983. “We are very keenly focused on being at the forefront of quality as a global firm.”
A simple, rational system of desks defines the workspace in which everything is moveable so teams can be reconfigured easily. “The organisational aesthetic speaks to the spirit of the age, which is more about openness, less about hierarchy,” says von Klemperer.
The interior plan is designed to harbour a sense of connection with the surrounding environment. Indeed Bryant Park itself acts like an extended office. “Bryant Park is our living room,” explains von Klemperer. “We rent out the Bryant Park Grill and that becomes our dining room. We don’t have to have everything in our space.” The firm takes its civic duty seriously by fostering strong relationships with volunteer groups such as Rebuilding Together NYC and Habitat for Humanity, which has had an energising impact on everybody in the team whether they’re involved or not.
In the context of architecture firms, KPF is unusual in that the evolution of the firm is going to be deliberately broad. “Our goal is not size. We want to keep focus on what we believe is our own DNA of values of high quality architecture,” says von Klemperer.
Author: Sung Yoon, Marketing Assistant, Bespoke Careers