A. Eugene Kohn
In 1976, A. Eugene (Gene) Kohn founded KPF alongside William Pedersen and Sheldon Fox based on a commitment to design excellence, collaboration, and providing opportunities for young members of the firm to become future leaders.
Gene served as the original President of KPF, developing its global strategy, shaping it into a world leader in all aspects of architectural practice, and leading it to become the youngest firm recognized with the AIA’s Architecture Firm Award.
Gene was respected worldwide, not only for his over sixty-year career as an architect, but also for his inspirational leadership qualities. He was highly regarded as an engaging public speaker and was sought after around the globe as a moderator, juror, and keynote speaker on contemporary architecture. He lectured at top-tier universities and professional organizations and institutions across the US and around the world.
Gene’s achievements were recognized with numerous prestigious awards. He received The National Building Museum Chairman’s Award, The Skyscraper Museum Award, The Soane Foundation Honors, and the Alumni Award of Merit by the University of Pennsylvania—the highest university-wide award presented to alumni. He has also been recognized with the Wharton Real Estate Center’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the University of Pennsylvania/PennDesign Dean’s Medal of Achievement, the highest honor awarded by the institution, and the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. In 2019, Gene received the Kanter Tritsch Medal for Excellence in Architecture and Environmental Design, which honors architects who have changed the course of design history. He was an Executive Fellow of the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University—the first architect to be awarded the title. In addition, Gene was named a ULI Life Trustee by the ULI Global Nominations Committee, the first architect to receive the honor.
Gene earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. At Penn, Gene was the recipient of the Theophilus Parsons Chandler Architecture Fellowship for advanced study and travel abroad. He served in the US Navy on Active Duty for three years between his BA and MA degrees, for five years on Reserve Duty, and retired as a Lieutenant Commander.
A registered architect in 26 states, Gene was a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and served as president of the AIA New York City Chapter. He was also a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects, a member of the Japan Institute of Architects, and an honorary member of the Fellows of the Philippine Institute. An Emeritus Board Member of the Council on Tall Buildings and the Urban Habitat, Gene taught at Harvard Business School for over ten years and at the Harvard Graduate School of Design for four years. He also served as a Trustee for the University of Pennsylvania, was an Overseer for its School of Design, and was a Member of the Wharton Real Estate Center Advisory Board. In addition, he taught at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. He was an Emeritus Trustee of the National Building Museum and the Urban Land Institute and Chairman of the Board of Publicolor, a nonprofit youth development organization that uses design-based programs to engage at-risk students in education leading to college and a career.