Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF), an international architectural practice based in New York City, employs comprehensive architectural design practices that strive to obtain optimal solutions in terms of environmental responsibility, social awareness, contextual design, and client value. Project results are achieved through collaboration and dialogue, informed decision-making, concerning contextual sensitivity, flexibility, and performance. As successful global design has no universal solution, every project must respond to its unique environment, needs and aspirations. Architectural design on the building scale as well as the scale of the city requires an integrated, multidisciplinary approach, with the solution viewed holistically as a system made up of interdependent components, including leveraging new digital technologies as a data collection network. The collective effect of these systems including the digital network as they respond to place, climate, density, use and program creates a building ecosystem whose goal is to optimize both efficiency and occupant comfort. This approach is then extended beyond the individual building to the scale of urban design. Multiple building types, infrastructural systems, and now digital networks need to work together at the scale of the city. Responsive strategies through data collection and analytics allow for the optimization of resource use and occupant comfort and therefore reinforce the objectives of good design.

Currently 54% of the global population lives in urban areas and by 2050 this proportion is expected to rise to 66%. As new urban areas are planned and existing ones are adapted to accommodate an influx of inhabitants, integrating technology with design will be critical. Cities are increasingly leveraging sensors and data analytics to drive operational efficiencies and create new services for their inhabitants. There are many examples of responsive systems that have been deployed in cities around the world, such as traffic lights in Helsinki that give priority to public buses and trash bins in New York that automatically notify sanitation workers when they need to be emptied. However, these technologies can offer even more value when they are integrated during the initial design process and can be designed from inception to leverage data across different systems.

Across an extensive international portfolio developed over 40 years of practice, KPF’s experience with integrating advanced technological systems at the city-scale range from New Songdo City in Korea, one of the very first urban environments conceived as a Smart City, to the upcoming Hudson Yards project in New York, which will be the nation’s first “quantified community.” A similar approach is taken with smaller projects, including Ernst & Young Tower (by Oxford Properties), a Class AAA office building in downtown Toronto. The building will feature an integrated fiber backbone for building systems, lighting controls, security and communications. The project is also targeting LEED ® Platinum certification and promises to offer comfortable, flexible and easily accessible office space to its tenants.

Cisco is a world leader and innovator in the integration of technology in architectural design. A good example is RBC Waterpark Place III (see above, picture source www.urbantoronto.ca) by Oxford Properties where a collaborative design process was used and all parties involved understood and agreed to implement a next-generation, enterprise-grade converged-base building network. Cisco and EllisDon led that process and ensured the developer’s requirements, under the form of use-cases, were translated into user experiences and/or benefits for either the building owners, the operators or the tenants of the building.

To ensure the tenant experience considerations are easy to implement, the different technologies involved need to be interoperable and open, just as what Cisco is driving with its Digital Ceiling framework. This framework is accelerating digital transformation and extends the benefits of the Internet of Things throughout your facilities. It unlocks new experiences and efficiencies for employees, while simultaneously lowering facility operating costs. It also puts high-resolution sensor data at your fingertips, so you can gain deeper insight into your environment to make better business decisions. Our recent ‘Best Technology Innovation Award for 2016’ at the RealComm/IBCon conference gives us confidence that the wider industry is starting to see the same benefits we are driving through the ‘openness’ and the increased network convergence.

Want to find out how end-result at EY Tower in Toronto will look and feel like? Want to better understand how the integrated experience use-cases enable a more happy and efficient workforce? Let us know via a reply to this blog or keep following us in the relevant social media channels. We plan to release a more in-depth joint KPF/Cisco paper on this soon.


About KPF

KPF is a unified architectural practice focused on the design of buildings of all types and scales, in all geographic regions. Our projects include the world’s tallest towers, longest spans, most varied programs and inventive forms. The goal that binds our work – and what motivates our efforts – is finding the smartest solution for each project. We believe that the best design is the product of an open-minded search, one without preconceptions or stylistic formulae. The firm consists of 600 staff led by 24 principals, with offices in New York, London, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul, and Abu Dhabi. You can learn more about us and our work at www.kpf.com and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.


John Baekelmans

Chief Technology Officer

Internet of Everything (IoE) Solutions group