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From Chicago to Paris: Global Design and the Architecture of Place

  • Thursday November 2 • 6:30 p.m.

  • On Site • Enter via 54 W. Chicago Ave

  • In English

  • $40 Members • $50 non-members

  • Students • Entrée Libre • ( .edu registration required )

  • (The Symposium on Contemporary French Architecture is a fundraising event, benefitting cultural and educational programming. After reception included.)

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KPF will present their industry leading work in France in both sustainability and the adaptive reuse of early Parisian skyscrapers.

*Post reception will include a complimentary glass of wine.

About the Guest

This lecture, led by KPF President and Design Principal James von Klemperer, will tell the story of the firm and explain the design philosophy that helped it grow into an award-winning architectural design practice with 750+ employees and 9 offices around the world. James has been active in Europe, highlighting projects in France such as Window La Défense, Parc Du Millénaire 3 & 4, Tour First, and others. In Paris he completed a building for the Ministry of Justice at the Parc du Millénaire; in the La Defense district, with a focus on transformation projects including Window, which reskins an existing building with a dramatic new façade; and in Lyon, where he is designing a series of buildings within the Part Dieu station precinct.  

A major focus of James’ work has been to heighten the role that large buildings play in making urban space. He has explored this theme in major projects in Asia including the China Resources Tower in Shenzhen, Plaza 66 and the Jing An Kerry Centre in Shanghai, China Central Place in Beijing, and the 123-story Lotte World Tower in Seoul. In New York, his design for One Vanderbilt links Midtown’s tallest office tower directly to Grand Central Terminal. Each of these projects creates a strong symbiotic relationship between program space and the public realm. At the larger urban scale, his design for New Songdo City extends this challenge to the scope of urban planning.  

KPF, a global architecture firm with a portfolio that spans project types and scales, achieved early recognition for its work in Chicago. 333 Wacker Drive is one of the city’s most iconic buildings and features a design that responds to its surroundings with a modern interpretation. The principles that drove that design – to engage with context, enhance the urban realm, and provide wellness-focused space for occupants – continue to guide the firm’s work.

James has lectured at Harvard, Columbia, Tsinghua, Tongji, Seoul National, and Yonsei Universities, the ESA in Paris, AMO in Lyon, and at Yale, where he taught as a Saarinen Visiting Professor. Jamie chairs the Board of Directors of the Skyscraper Museum and the Storefront for Art and Architecture, and is a Trustee of Bard College. 

He received a BA from Harvard in 1979, Magna Cum Laude in History and Literature. In 1980 he was the Charles Henry Fiske Fellow at Trinity College Cambridge. He received his MArch from Princeton in 1983.

These programs are possible in part thanks to the Jean Bodfish Memorial Fund.

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