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Famous Architects of our time – Interview with Gregory Kovacs

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There are several criteria to be thought of while creating a list of most famous architects of our generation. But we have focused on the two thing that renders itself as the most pressing challenge faced by architects today – Space and sustainability.

Land is limited and the world’s population is growing. Infrastructure to suffice the needs of this growing population has to often deal with space constraints. Another pressing challenge is climate change.

As the infrastructure industry is one of the most polluting industries, reducing the menacing effects of infrastructure development is not just a challenge but a civic responsibility of architects today

The famous architects today are known for creating structures that make human life easy, are aesthetically pleasing and sustainable.

In this interview we ask Gregory Kovacs, Design Director of Benoy and one of the famous architects of our time, about what makes a structure a great one in today’s age. He also helps us understand what a ‘green building’ actually means.

Famous Architects of our time - Interview with Gregory Kovacs

Gregory Kovacs - famous architects of our time

Architect Gregory Kovacs is the Design Director at Benoy. As an internationally exhibited architect-artist with over 15 years' experience in design, Gregory brings a fresh perspective to Benoy. His portfolio of work focuses mainly on large-scale mixed-use, heritage and masterplan projects across Asia, bringing his unique, worldwide expertise to all of his projects. In 2018, Gregory Kovacs was awarded the Perspective '40 under 40' designer award. He is also a winner of the prestigious RIBA Goldfinger Prize.

Singapore's re-imagined Holland Village, a low-rise urban village with integrated, usable public realm; and Ningbo MLP, China, a mixed-use development prominently located on the riverfront of the city, are some of the prominent designs included in Mr. Kovacs’ portfolio.

Industry Leaders Magazine: What aspects of your life before becoming an architect has shaped your design principles and style? What inspires your creation?

Gregory Kovacs: I am rather skeptical towards having a strong style or a rigid set of principles in architecture or in any other creative practice. I have lived and worked in very different parts of the world and the most important thing I have learned is that the things we see in everyday life can be taken in very different ways.

Many of our projects only open around 5 years after we start working on it and will be used for decades to come. In short, our work is always looking to the future. Principles, styles, rules of thumb are all grounded in the past. I believe that we should continue to question these assumptions in order to develop ideas that work best for every single project.

Each project has a unique set of challenges and constraints pertaining to site, community, and cultural, physical, political and economic context. Each project requires its own, unique solution to maximize the value for its owners and the users. The local culture is an essential source of inspiration - it grounds the project; makes it relevant and meaningful today and in the future. But the greatest inspiration is always the actual project itself; a project with a very difficult set of problems that requires a collaborative effort to solve. I am passionate about problem-solving from developing the brief through the later stages of finer adjustments.

Industry Leaders Magazine: You have a diverse portfolio of work, from interior design to massive structures; what do you love designing the most? Do you have a particular project that is closest to your heart?

Gregory Kovacs: As architects, we are incredibly lucky to have this level of variety in what we do. It is great being able to see a project evolve from designing the interiors to creating a large scale masterplan; from designing an airport to working on a heritage village. This variety allows for unexpected cross-fertilization of ideas among different typologies and scales.


Industry Leaders Magazine: What according to you are the aspects that make a structure a great one and why?

Gregory Kovacs: What we are increasingly seeing is that architects are contributing to a much broader range of problem-solving than ever before. Tackling problems that lie outside of the traditional scope of the architect. Architects have important experience in bringing together many stakeholders with a common vision that navigates conflicting requirements and interests. This skill will be incredibly sought after in the future as projects are becoming more complex. 

Industry Leaders Magazine: What according to you does a ‘green building’ or a ‘sustainable building’ mean? What would you say is the future of architecture?

Gregory Kovacs: A great structure helps people find meaning in their day; creates opportunities for social exchange; reinforces the cohesion in communities. I am a passionate believer in brownfield developments - projects using existing buildings. These are some of the greenest buildings we have worked on recently. When it comes to sustainability, the real challenge is tackling all major aspects of sustainability: environmental; economic; social/cultural. None of these can be successful without the others.

It is said that architecture is the art we are living in. It is a representation of values, issues, development, culture, and way of life of every epoch. Since we are the generation who is witnessing the technological evolution first-hand, its only natural to see technology's influence exuded in architecture

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