According to Lloyd Sigal (’87 B.S. Architecture, ’88 B.Arch.), architects’ work is always changing—from year to year, he finds himself on a constant journey of self-education. When he entered the workforce, architects were still working with pencil on mylar, compared to the standard digital design processes employed today. Adaptation is “the life of an architect,” he explained.
After graduating from Penn State’s Architecture program in 1988, Sigal joined Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF) in New York. Now a managing principal for the firm, he serves as partner-in-charge for numerous projects around the world, and also plays an active role in the management of daily operations at the firm’s headquarters. He served as project manager for the new facility for Samsung Electronics in Seoul, South Korea; the national AIA award-winning Newman Vertical Campus for the City University of New York’s Baruch College; and the 5.5 million-square-foot Mohegan Sun Resort in Connecticut. Over the last decade, Sigal has played a key role in overseeing KPF’s growth in South America, with projects in São Paulo and Rio de Janiero, Brazil, and Santiago, Chile.
Sigal’s father was an architect, but he wasn’t sure he wanted to pursue it as a career. “The first year of study was pretty rigorous,” he admitted. Despite the struggle, he said the faculty at Penn State helped students “break down expectations and define our own view of architecture. They encouraged us to think differently.”
The curriculum’s flexibility fostered independent growth and exploration, which helped Sigal transition into work at the firm. He also credits the opportunity to study abroad in Florence, Italy, with helping him to develop a global perspective, which has been critical in his collaborative work with people around the world.
Sigal said he believes architects are uniquely educated and positioned to lead the transformation of the built environment, and he has maintained a strong mentoring relationship with Penn State’s Architecture program to contribute to that education. He partners with professor Dan Willis to have current students visit KPF in New York City so they might gain insight into the realities of working in an architecture firm, and he also visits campus to sit on jury panels and offer feedback to students on their work.