Adjunct Associate Professor Stefan Al is an architect, urban designer, author, currently serving as Senior Associate Principal at Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF). At KPF, he contributes to a number of mixed-use transit-oriented developments, master plans, and high-rise towers. He has focused on pressing issues related to designing large-scale projects within the contemporary city, including high-density, smart mobility, and urban resilience.
In his design work, he is able to draw from his extensive research, including his seven books on urban design and urbanization, which have been widely reviewed and acclaimed. His co-authored book, Beyond Mobility: Planning Cities for People and Places, won the National Urban Design award. His latest research advocates for designing more resilient cities in the face of climate change, most notably in his new book Adapting Cities to Sea Level Rise: Green and Gray Strategies. His book, The Strip: Las Vegas and the Architecture of the American Dream, was a Wall Street Journal “best book to read.” He is acclaimed for his work on Asian urbanism with four books published including, Villages in the City, which was selected by Architectural Record as “one of the best” books on informal urbanism. Besides his academic publications, his work has been featured in museum and biennale exhibits and media outlets including TED, NPR, The Guardian, Marketplace, and The Times.
Stefan started his career as a designer at Information Based Architecture in Amsterdam, winning the competition and commission for the 2000-feet tall Canton Tower, which briefly held the title of the world’s tallest tower. The project, known for its elegant silhouette and technological excellence, is the most popular attraction in Guangzhou and widely appreciated as a landmark throughout China.
Over the years, Al has served as a TED Resident and professor at the University of Hong Kong and the University of Pennsylvania, where he directed the urban design program and co-taught an online course, Designing Cities, with more than 70,000 students. In addition, he has served in various capacities to major institutions, such as the World Heritage Center of UNESCO, working on the preservation of world heritage in Latin America, the Hong Kong government, consulting on the development of the city’s harbor and external lighting guidelines, and to the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, serving as an expert on compact city design.
Stefan has a PhD in city and regional planning from UC Berkeley, and Master’s degrees in architecture from the University College London and Delft University of Technology, with honors.