After 31 years with KSS Architects, Ed Klimek is retiring from the practice of architecture and will transition to Partner Emeritus at the end of the 2022 calendar year. Ed has been a crucial part of KSS’ growth and success and has worked on more than 300 projects across a broad cross-section of markets including higher education, municipal, retail, industrial, and workplace. His future-forward perspective, ability to identify emerging trends and the value they add to design, and willingness to take risks have spurred the growth of the firm, most notably KSS’ workplace and industrial practices. Ed has cultivated long-standing client relationships and guided innovative projects from Burlington Stores’ headquarters to urban multistory industrial projects with Innovo Property Group. His guidance has supported the firm in being adaptable to economic, social, and cultural change and helped to create a thriving workplace culture. Ed says, “My tenure at KSS has been an amazing experience during which I have found a group of people—a family—who have always challenged me to become more. I built my own family while I was at the firm, starting as a young man about to be married and ending my tenure with a wonderful wife of 31 years and two grown children now in their own creative careers. As I did that, the firm was always at my side. I have had the opportunity to work with great partners, having been mentored by the firm’s founders, and now have had the privilege of doing the same with new generations of partners who continue to lead KSS.”
Since joining the firm in 1991, Ed has consistently embodied its mission to create meaningful and lasting change through great architecture and design. Partner Scot Murdoch emphasized this saying, “From the time I started at the firm, Ed has been a strong example of this core belief. As a mentor, friend, and ultimately Partner, I have been able to bear witness to and benefit from his talent and impact for more than a quarter-century. I am confident that he will continue to elevate and inspire those around him in his next chapter.”
Ed’s commitment to design for impact has not only led to numerous projects that positively influence the lives of those who inhabit them, but also encouraged indivudals at KSS to push the envelope to do something more with their practice. He has greatly valued the continued opportunities to collaborate with clients, consultants, and staff, sharing diverse perspectives and ideas to ultimately create architecture that achieves more just ends. Margaret Gregg, a project architect who has closely collaborated with Ed in recent years, notes, “Ed has an unwavering commitment to thoughtful design and the people with whom he works. His curiosity and passion are both thought-provoking and inclusive of everyone in his vicinity. His consistent engagement of younger staff members in his research and design processes have in turn enriched the entire firm.”
Throughout his career, Ed has been a relentless advocate for sustainability. As a consultant to the U.S. Green Building Council, Ed helped develop LEED for Warehouses and Distribution Centers to facilitate more environmentally responsible industrial development. Ed has also supported a broader, more nuanced understanding of sustainability that encompasses human, social, economic, and environmental sustainability and to that end is currently conducting research with NAIOP around wellness in the industrial workplace. With this in mind, Ed has championed integral development, a new paradigm of development for the 21st century that responds to the social, economic, and environmental needs of communities and the new ways of planning being adopted by cities and communities today.
While Ed is retiring from the practice of traditional architecture, he will carry on KSS’ mission within a new professional venture focused on social justice and sustainability. This transition is a natural progression of growth in which Ed seeks to marry design thinking with his recent studies in Global Development and Social Justice. Ed aims to accomplish this through multiple avenues including academic lecturing and research, continuing his microfinance work in Guatemala, and engaging in integral development. “I have been inspired by the people I work with from our clients and consultants to everyone I have collaborated with at KSS. That collaboration has led to great freedoms of thought and design, allowing, and even encouraging me, to take this new step in life.” – Ed Klimek
KSS congratulates Ed on a remarkable career and wishes him great success as he begins a new and exciting adventure.