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Meet Christoph Kapeller of CK ARCHITECTURE in Downtown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Christoph Kapeller.

Christoph, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born in Graz, Austria and, after graduating in Architecture from the Technical University in Graz, I came to Los Angeles in 1984 to study for my Master of Architecture degree at the University of Southern California. After finishing my degree, I worked for several architectural firms in the city such as Franklin D. Israel and AC Martin.

In 1998, I and four friends from Norway and LA won the international architectural competition for the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the new library of Alexandria Egypt. We set up shop in Norway under the name of Snøhetta to design this one million square foot library for the Egyptian Government and Unesco. During the design and construction of the project, my wife Adriana and I spent a total of eight years in Cairo and Alexandria where I was overseeing the construction work for the new library. In 2004, we recipients of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture for the library project.

After the completion of the library in 2001, I left Snøhetta and we moved back to Los Angeles. From 2003 to 2012, I taught at the University of Southern California School of Architecture and in 2005, we founded “CK-Architecture”.

Along with residential projects such as a private library in Hancock Park in collaboration with Mitchel De Jarnett, we designed the addition to Watt Hall at the University of Southern California in 2005. In recent years, we have designed a number of restaurants and bars throughout Los Angeles such as the “Phoenix” on Third Street, the “Paloma” on Hollywood Boulevard, “Corporation Food Hall” on Spring Street and the soon to be opening “Chateau Hanaré” on Sunset and Selma Avenue. Currently, we are working on a new 130 room hotel in Hollywood

In addition to architectural design, we have been involved in a number of art projects. For Freeze Alaska 2009 we created a 100-foot long ice table in a park in Anchorage in collaboration with Lita Albuquerque.

For the Chengdu Biennale 2010 we made an animation about speculative mapping for future city development. For the city of Manhattan Beach, we designed public benches for the boardwalk. For the exhibition: “View From Up Here: The Arctic At The Center Of The World” at the Anchorage Museum in 2016 we made a 12-foot tall sculpture and installation interpreting a Pleistocene-age permafrost formation.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
We had a difficult time during the recession when suddenly four of our projects were put on hold at the same time. During these years we had to reduce the office and work on competitions and proposals.

Please tell us about CK ARCHITECTURE.
As a small architectural firm, we do not want to specialize in a specific type of building, it has been clear from the beginning that our approach needed to be strictly contemporary, sustainable and functional. We believe in a research-driven approach to architecture and design and we like to work on as many different building types as possible.

Furthermore, we believe that full integration of landscape design and fine arts with an architectural project provides tremendous benefit to the client. No project is too small or too large, our approach is to treat each design with the same amount of enthusiasm and care.

We also think that the most important initial task for the architect in a new project is to carefully listen to the client’s needs and aspirations in order to interpret them into form, space and material.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Skiing in the mountains of Austria.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 639 S. Spring Street, Suite 4A
    Los Angeles, CA 90014
  • Website:
  • Phone: (213) 488-3360
  • Email:

Image Credit:
Gerald Zugmann, Michael Conti
Nancy Baron – Personal Photo

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