William Pedersen

Founding Design Partner, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates

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Friday, February 20, 2015– 4:30 pm

Location: Sinclair Lab Auditorium, Lehigh University, 7 Asa Drive, Bethlehem, PA

William Pedersen, Founding Design Partner, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, New York, NY: William Pedersen is the founding design partner of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF), which he started with A. Eugene Kohn and Sheldon Fox in 1976. Fourteen years later, they became the youngest firm to receive the National AIA Firm Award for design excellence. Personal honors which Mr. Pedersen has received include the Rome Prize in Architecture in 1965, the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize from the American Academy and the National Institute of Arts and Letters, the University of Minnesota’s Alumni Achievement Award, the Gold Medal from the national architectural fraternity, Tau Sigma, the Lynn S. Beedle Lifetime Achievement Award from the CTBUH and the Medal of Honor from the AIA of New York. He was also recently elected as a member of the National Academy and was awarded the 2013 International Award by The Society of American Registered Architects (SARA). During his career with KPF, Mr. Pedersen has received seven National AIA Design Awards for architectural design work he has directed.

Balancing: I have titled this talk “Balancing” since much of what I do as an architect involves resolving the conflicting objectives of seemingly opposing conditions.
My talk takes one through the journey I have had in architecture beginning with my earliest days as a student at the University of Minnesota and MIT. However, my career really begins with the formation of a partnership with Gene Kohn and Sheldon Fox. The three of us each had very different personalities, came from very different backgrounds and held different aspirations for our careers in architecture. Together we were like the three parts of a sailboat; the keel, the hull, and the sails.

From the beginning of our practice together, circumstances brought us several opportunities to design the high rise urban office building. My greatest contribution to architecture has been my systematic exploration of various strategies which are aimed at making this building type a responsive participant within the city. I have often called the work I am doing for the related Company in Hudson Yards my final exam.

Mies van Der Rohe was famous for saying that a chair is more difficult than a tall building. The end of my talk will discuss my development of my Loop de Loop chairs along with showing examples of my hobby; the balancing of rocks.

The Dendrite and Graphite of a Grey Cast Iron Structure