KPF Principal Rob Whitlock joined the Skyscraper Museum’s speaker series in February 2021 to discuss his approach to designing supertall towers as multi-layered cities, and how inspiration informs the project and evolves into the final product.
With three decades of experience at the firm, Robert Whitlock is one of KPF’s foremost designers of high-rise towers, mixed-use developments, and large-scale master plans. He is the design principal for three supertalls in our exhibition: Suzhou International Finance Square, a 450-meter signature tower of the ancient Chinese city; Chongqing International Trade and Commerce Center, a 475-meter tower that anchors a development for Shui On Land in the megacity of southwestern China; and CITIC Tower, at 528 meters the tallest building in Beijing. Also known as China Zun after the flaring form of a Bronze-Age ritual vessel, the 109-story tower is the headquarters of CITIC Group, a state-owned investment company.
Whitlock focuses his high-rise and mixed-use master plan designs on density, public space, programmatic integration, and the influences of these elements on the quality and sustainability of the “multi-layered city.” His projects for the Shenzhen Chegongmiao District and Greenland Bund Centre in Shanghai explore new ways of creating active urban spaces. In Hong Kong, he led the design of Hysan Place, the city’s first LEED Platinum building that provides elevated public gardens and draws prevailing breezes though the site. In Singapore, his design for 18 Robinson integrates green space vertically throughout the structure.
Educated at the University of Virginia and Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation, Rob is a Fellow of the AIA and presenter at numerous conferences.
Video courtesy of Skyscraper Museum