A. Eugene Kohn

Senior Lecturer of Business Administration

A. Eugene Kohn, FAIA, RIBA, JIA; Chairman, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates. Since founding Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, A. Eugene Kohn, Chairman has led the firm to become one of the world’s most respected and innovative architectural firms. Mr. Kohn is known for his inspirational leadership and commitment to design excellence. Under his direction, KPF with five offices has earned more than 300 design awards. Mr. Kohn teaches at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and at the Harvard Business School a class on the value of design. Mr. Kohn has both a BA and a MA in Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania and served as an officer in the US Navy between degrees.

Cases and Teaching Materials

  1. Back to the Future: Redeveloping Unilever House

    Steve Williams, General Counsel of Unilever PIc, has two key decisions to make prior to commencing construction on the redevelopment of Unilever House - the company's London corporate headquarters. The purpose of the redevelopment is to reinvigorate the corporate culture by making the company's workspace more collaborative, transparent, and efficient. Steve has to decide how to finance the project and whether the current design proposed by his architects achieves the project's goals.

    Keywords: Organizational Culture; Leasing; Sales; Restructuring; Leading Change; Financing and Loans; Decisions; Business Headquarters; Design; Projects; London;

    Citation:

    Kohn, A. Eugene, Arthur I Segel, and Andrew Pierson Terris. "Back to the Future: Redeveloping Unilever House." Harvard Business School Case 211-038, December 2010. (Revised June 2011.)
  2. CityCenter (B): Economics and Delivery

    Bill Smith is informed by his general contractor that a key component of the Aria Resort is going to be delayed. Aria is the centerpiece of CityCenter: a $9 billion complex and a bet-the-firm decision for MGM Mirage. Smith must make a decision as to whether to force the general contractor to complete construction or to have the MGM Design Group take over this piece of the construction. The case also looks at the economics of the CityCenter project and discusses the organizational underpinnings needed to make a massive construction process a success.

    Keywords: Buildings and Facilities; Decision Choices and Conditions; Construction; Finance; Organizational Structure; Projects; Complexity;

    Citation:

    Kohn, A. Eugene, John D. Macomber, and Ben Creo. "CityCenter (B): Economics and Delivery." Harvard Business School Supplement 209-094, January 2009.
  3. CityCenter (A): Vision and Design

    CityCenter is a $9 billion project for MGM MIRAGE. The project's star architects have a major disagreement about a critical design issue. Bill Smith, head of the MGM MIRAGE Design Group, must resolve this issue to the satisfaction of all the project's stakeholders. This case explores many issues in the construction of large-scale buildings: how to envision such a project, how to manage the architects, how different designs add value, and what criteria matter in resolving a dispute between designers. The case also explores the construction costs and revenue benefits of having two buildings built with significant leaning away from vertical.

    Keywords: Buildings and Facilities; Cost vs Benefits; Design; Construction; Projects; Business and Stakeholder Relations; Conflict Management; Value Creation;

    Citation:

    Kohn, A. Eugene, John D. Macomber, and Ben Creo. "CityCenter (A): Vision and Design." Harvard Business School Case 209-052, January 2009.
  4. The Time Warner Center: Mixed-Use Development

    Despite the failure of other attempts to bring mixed use development in New York City, Related Companies in 2004 opened Time Warner Center, a huge complex incorporating offices, shops, restaurants, music auditoriums, a hotel, and luxury apartments on Columbus Circle in Manhattan. Tracing the process by which Related became the site developer, the case examines the risks and rewards of building and marketing the various components of the megastructure.

    Keywords: Risk and Uncertainty; Marketing; Buildings and Facilities; Construction; Development Economics; New York (city, NY);

    Citation:

    Kohn, A. Eugene, Arthur I Segel, and David Lane. "The Time Warner Center: Mixed-Use Development." Harvard Business School Case 208-081, January 2008. (Revised August 2008.)
  5. Mayhem on Madison (A)

    In his first project, an aspiring property developer negotiates the development rights above a one-story bank branch in Manhattan's tony Carnegie Hill. Community resistance erupted immediately, spearheaded by celebrity and socialite residents. Facing rejection of his firm's proposal of a 17-story residential condominium building for the site by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, the developer and his firm must decide how to respond.

    Keywords: Buildings and Facilities; Development Economics; Business and Community Relations; Conflict and Resolution; Urban Development; Real Estate Industry; New York (city, NY);

    Citation:

    Kohn, A. Eugene, and David Lane. "Mayhem on Madison (A)." Harvard Business School Case 208-067, January 2008. (Revised March 2008.)
  6. Mayhem on Madison (B)

    Explains the approvals and construction process for a building to be constructed against neighborhood opposition above an operating bank branch in New York City.

    Keywords: Buildings and Facilities; Development Economics; Business and Community Relations; Conflict and Resolution; Urban Development; Real Estate Industry; New York (city, NY);

    Citation:

    Kohn, A. Eugene, and David Lane. "Mayhem on Madison (B)." Harvard Business School Supplement 208-102, January 2008. (Revised March 2008.)
  7. The Amsterdam World Trade Center

    Late in September 2001, Hans van Tartwijk, president of Trimp & van Tartwijk Property Development (TvT) of Amsterdam, Holland, was deeply worried about the status of his largest ongoing project; the Amsterdam World Trade Center (WTC). As the discretionary developer, van Tartwijk needed to present his firm's recommendations to WTC owners and municipal stakeholders on how best to manage problems in the renovation of the 27-floor, 60,000 square meter complex. The WTC owners, two Dutch financial institutions, had hired TvT in 1995 to advise out how to best handle their property's under performance, which stood 20% empty and had prematurely aged. 1. Should the Owners sell, perform minimum upgrade or a major upgrade with construction, expansion? 2. What emphasis - commitment made to Green Technologies?

    Keywords: Risk Management; Property; Performance Improvement; Projects; Environmental Sustainability; Real Estate Industry; Netherlands;

    Citation:

    Kohn, A. Eugene, Hans van Tartwijk, Nhat Minh Nguyen, Brent Kazan, and David Lane. "The Amsterdam World Trade Center." Harvard Business School Case 208-078, December 2007.
  8. IBM Culture in Its Architecture

    In 1992, Lou Gerstner was the CEO of IBM during a period where the firm was losing money and a turnaround was desperately needed. In a bold decision, Gerstner chose to build a new headquarters in Armonk, NY that had strict limits on expandability. His idea was to use the building--with its design and architecture--to change the culture of IBM. Justification to shareholders for a large capital expenditure when the firm was losing $5 billion by year and laying off nearly 25,000 employees was an extreme challenge for Gerstner. However, he was adamant in his vision, and wanted to create a culture with fluid, unobstructed communication between divisions. Gerstner also wanted to eliminate bloated overhangs within the organization on cost, personnel, and physical structure levels. The challenge to the architects was to articulate Gerstner's ideas into form.

    Keywords: Design; Leadership; Job Design and Levels; Organizational Structure; Buildings and Facilities; Business Headquarters; Decisions; Organizational Culture; Corporate Strategy; Expansion; Information Technology Industry; New York (state, US);

    Citation:

    Kohn, A. Eugene, and Kerry Herman. "IBM Culture in Its Architecture." Harvard Business School Case 207-026, February 2007.