Eugene (Gene) Kohn, ULI Life Trustee, Foundation Governor, and trailblazing architect whose firm, Kohn Pederson Fox (KPF), designed some of the most iconic skyscrapers in the world, recently passed away in his home in Montecito, California at the age of 92.
A highly engaged supporter of ULI for over 40 years, Gene held multiple leadership roles including terms on the Global Exchange Council and the Urban Development/Mixed Use Council (Blue and Green Flights). He also served as a jury member and chair for various ULI competitions, including the ULI Hines Student Competition, Americas Awards for Excellence, and ULI Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development. Always happy to lead and inspire the next generation of designers and architects, Gene was widely regarded as a mentor and friend to members and staff alike.
His passion, intuition and commitment to cutting-edge design led him to form KPF in 1976 with William Pedersen and Sheldon Fox. As the original President and Chairman, Gene spearheaded the firm’s worldwide expansion and molded it into an international force in the architecture industry.
Today, KPF has designed more than 250 skyscrapers around the globe, including 4 of the 10 tallest in the world, and is the youngest company to have received the American Institute of Architects’ Architecture Firm Award. They are responsible for iconic, city-shaping projects including 333 Wacker Drive in Chicago, The World Bank Headquarters in Washington DC, Roppongi Hills in Tokyo, the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, Covent Garden in London, and One Vanderbilt and Hudson Yards in New York.
“The world of design and architecture lost an unparalleled luminary who worked tirelessly through his impressive career in creating some of the most iconic buildings and skyscrapers in cities around the world. Gene’s vision and commitment to the world of architecture has left an indelible mark on our cities and the way generations will live, work and interact with these physical spaces. We mourn his loss, but we know his legacy will endure through his deep engagement, generosity, and leadership with our organization, inspiring generations of designers and architects to shape our cities in a positive way,” said Ron Pressman, Global CEO of ULI.
Gene was a giant of industry with a passion for sustainable, forward-thinking design. He was also a generous donor to the ULI Foundation. To honor his tremendous achievements, KPF recently donated $1 million to endow the annual A. Eugene Kohn/KPF Fellowship, which will fund research on low carbon design and other activities in the ULI Randall Lewis Center for Sustainability in Real Estate. Efforts will focus on topics Gene felt passionately about such as achieving carbon neutrality through design, using low-carbon materials, promoting transit-oriented development, increasing urban green space, and facilitating progressive urban and community policy.
We invite Gene’s friends and colleagues to consider honoring his life and legacy by giving a gift to the ULI Foundation and supporting the A. Eugene Kohn/KPF Fellowship here.
Images provided by KPF.