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    New York practice Kohn Pedersen Fox looks to re-enter Australian market

    Geraldine Chua

    New York-based architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) Associates has left its mark only once in Australia, in the form of Sydney’s 53-storey Chifley Tower completed in 1991.

    More recently, its work locally extends to being one of the final contenders for the Crown hotel tower proposal at Barangaroo, which ultimately went to Wilkinson Eyre Architects, and the Gold Coast Towers for Budds Beach in Queensland.

    However, a recent story by The Australian says the practice is looking to re-enter the Australian market with a bigger slice of the pie, including the possibility of working on a number of key urban renewal projects in Sydney and Melbourne. With six global offices, it could also open a local division.

    According to the report, KPF is partnering with local consultancy Ridley in tendering for work on The Bays precinct in Sydney’s inner-west, where approximately 80 hectares of government land in Rozelle will be developed.

    The firm is also seeking design opportunities at Melbourne’s Federation Square East, with the Victorian government calling for expressions of interest to develop the 3.3 hectare site which sits above rail lines in central Melbourne just last month.

    KPF’s managing principal Paul Katz (left), together with a number of staff, have already met with the Metropolitan Planning Authority in Victoria and UrbanGrowth in NSW to discuss these projects.

    In an interview with The Australian, Katz notes that the quality of architecture in the country is “excellent”, and that high density and height are two key elements in his vision for urban renewal precincts.

    “The world nearly went bankrupt building sprawling single family homes, the debt crisis in the United States only happened through negligent use of land, where people were building single family houses where it made absolutely no sense,” he said.

    “People were commuting two hours to the American dream, but that’s not a dream, that’s an American nightmare.”

    Katz also added that the focus of the practice would be on more public space:

    “Most people would be hard-pressed to describe in Paris a building that wasn’t a church or a museum or the Eiffel Tower, but the city is iconic.

    “You want to identify and preserve the strongest elements of living in that city plus develop a quality of life that reflects what technology will allow us today.”

    KPF is one of the world’s most pre-eminent architecture firms, providing architecture, interior, programming and master planning services in both the public and private sectors. Its diverse portfolio includes over 100 projects certified or pursuing green building certification. 

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