Juan Kurchan studied architecture at the University of Bueno Aires from where he graduated in 1937. Together with Jorge Ferrari Hardoy, Kurchan travelled to Europe and finished his training in the studio of Le Corbusier, where they met the Spanish architect Antonio Bonet.
In 1938 Kurchan, Ferrari Hardoy and Bonet founded the influtential modern architectural practice Grupo Austral. In the following year the group released a publication in which they set up principles, adapting Le Corbusier’s concept on Argentine conditions. During the early 1940’s Kurchan worked together with Ferrari Hardoy on architecture, mainly in Buenos Aires based on these principles.
In 1944, Kurchan and Ferrari Hardoy were involved in the rebuilding of the city of San Juan after the earthquake of 1944. In 1952 Kurchan was appointed Director of Urbanism for the Buenos Aires city council as well as participating in building projects in Uruguay, Chile and Brazil.
As a furniture designer Kurchan is most known for the BKF Butterfly chair that he designed together with Bonet and Ferrari Hardoy (BKF stands for Bonet, Kurchan abd Ferrari Hardoy). For the BKF Butterfly chair Bonet, Kurchan and Hardoy took inspiration from the Tripolina, a folding camp chair made for use by the military. In 1881 the British inventor Joseph B. Fenby had patented his design of the chair.
From 1941 to 1948 the BKF chair was produced by Artek-Pascoe, a company founded by Aino and Alvar Aalto in an effort to establish themselves in the USA. During the late 1940’s the American Knoll Associates took over the American copyright. After losing a copyright infringement lawsuit the design was to be copied by a plethora of firms. In Sweden the BKwas produced by the NK orkshops. During the 1950’s the chair was one of the most widespread chairs in the world.
The first two BKF Butterfly chairs to come to the USA went to Fallingwater, Edgar Kaufmann Jr.'s home in Pennsylvania (designed by family friend Frank Lloyd Wright), and to the MoMA in New York.
Juan Kurchan passed away in 1972 at the age of 58.