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Bill Pedersen Shares His Experience Designing Modern Skyscrapers in Architectural Foundation of San Francisco’s Interview Series

The KPF founding partner joined AFSF to discuss his new book, Gesture and Response, and the evolution of supertalls.

Bill Pedersen joined Zach Waters, AFSF Board Member and CEO at Black Swan Risk Management, and began by recounting his education at the University of Minnesota, where he almost dropped his architecture studies following a series of tough courses and late nights. Jumping ahead in time, on the topic of how KPF began with such success, Pedersen explains, “the three of us allowed each other to operate fully within our sphere of responsibility…that certainly is one of the most important characteristics of our evolution.”

Explaining the title of his book, Pedersen went into detail about how the two actions anchor his design philosophy. The words “gesture” and “response” influence both his take on architecture and how he addresses his relationship with clients. The creation of some of KPF’s most iconic supertall towers followed a design process inspired both by the client’s needs and the project’s location.

Closing out the interview, Pedersen offered advice to young architects to make sure they love what they are doing, because the commitment to being an architect will only be fulfilling if one is passionate about what they are creating.

Earlier this fall, Pedersen joined the Architecture, Design, & Photography podcast with Trent Bell, providing further insight into Gesture and Response, his career, and his design philosophy. Learn more about the interview here.

The Architectural Foundation of San Francisco (AFSF) is a non-profit education organization that mentors primary school students in the fields of architecture, engineering, and construction. Their “Interview Series” began during the pandemic to create an online format to replace the foundation’s in-person classes. Learn more about AFSF here.