2019 Medalist

A. Eugene Kohn

The Kanter Tritsch Medal for Excellence in Architecture and Environmental Design

A. Eugene (Gene) Kohn serves as Founder and Chairman of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates. In 1976, he founded KPF alongside William Pedersen and Sheldon Fox, based on a commitment to design excellence and built on collaboration and opportunities for young members of the firm to become future leaders. Gene served as Founder and the original President of KPF, developing its global strategy and shaping it into a world leader in all aspects of architectural practice. Gene is respected worldwide, not only for his over 50-year career as an architect, but also for his inspirational leadership qualities. He is highly regarded as an engaging public speaker and is sought after around the globe as a moderator, juror and keynote speaker on contemporary architecture. He has lectured at numerous universities and for professional organizations and institutions across the United States and around the world.

Gene’s achievements have been 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. He is an Executive Fellow of the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University—the first architect to be awarded the title.

Gene holds 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 is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, and he served as president of the AIA New York City Chapter. He is 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 has taught at Harvard Business School for over a decade and at the Harvard Graduate School of Design for four years. He has also served as a Trustee for the University of Pennsylvania, is currently an Overseer for its School of Design, and is a Member of the Wharton Real Estate Center Advisory Board. In addition, he teaches at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. He is a Trustee of the National Building Museum and the Urban Land Institute. He is currently 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.

The jury for the Kanter Tritsch Medal included Winka Dubbeldam, Miller Professor and Chair of Weitzman Architecture, Lori Kanter Tritsch, Weitzman alumna and overseer, Ferda Kolatan, associate professor of practice, Weitzman School and founding director of su11, Marc Kushner, cofounding principal, Hollwich Kushner, and cofounding ceo, Architizer, and Weitzman Dean and Paley Professor Fritz Steiner.

  • Arthaus, a 47-story residential tower in Philadelphia (Courtesy KPF)
  • Hudson Yards, the 26-acre Manhattan neighborhood opened in 2019 (Photo Connie Zhou, courtesy KPF)
  • The atrium of Unilever House, the company's headquarters in London completed in 2017 (Photo H.G. Esch, courtesy KPF)