New Songdo City, a smart city in Incheon, South Korea.

At the base of One Vanderbilt, a series of angled cuts organizes a visual procession to Grand Central Station.

/ Press / News / People

James von Klemperer Shares KPF’s Vision and Goals for 2019 in Monocle on Design Interview

The KPF President outlined the firm’s current approach to architecture, focusing on large-scale, urban mixed-use projects that positively impact the cities they inhabit and the lives of their users.

On designing with the user in mind, von Klemperer says, “The use and the understanding of how people are going to flow through buildings is the design, along with the physical structure. Understanding the menu of what one adds together to make an urban experience is the challenge, the fun, and should be the value brought to the place.”

von Klemperer and host Daphne Karnezis also addressed reuse and repositioning projects, highlighting the architect’s responsibility to evaluate the environmental and economic impact of their work, as well as technological advancements in the field that allow architects and developers to make smarter choices in the planning and design process.

One solution, von Klemperer proposed, is for cities to densify further: “The more we can make [city] centers enjoyable, viable, useful places, the more cities don’t have to sprawl… The skill of creating that kind of setting with a dense, urban architecture is called for more and more today, and that’s one of the missions of our practice.”

Monocle on Design’s “Big Insights” series is a platform for conversations with leaders from some of the world’s biggest companies. von Klemperer’s segment is included in a three-part episode featuring an overview of the New York Botanical Garden’s tribute to Brazilian modernist landscaper Roberto Burle Marx and a conversation with “Father of the iPod” Tony Fadell.

Monocle is a London-based international magazine aimed at providing news on culture, design, and business. Learn about more about Monocle on Design here and listen to the podcast here.