Hanif Kara is the Design Director and co-founder of AKT II, based in London, UK. A design-led firm of structural and civil engineers with projects in over 25 countries, AKT, like Kara, approaches projects through the eyes of both an engineer and an architect, overcoming the conflicts that often occur between the two to create innovative, award-winning developments. The traditional boundaries between architecture and engineering are now being challenged, says Kara, and both education and practice needs to keep pace.
Kara’s interest in sustainable construction, complex methods of analysis, and novel forms has allowed him to work on pioneering projects such as the Phaeno Science Centre in Wolfsburg, Germany, and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technolgy in Masdar City. His practice has won over 250 design awards including the RIBA Lubetkin Prize for the UK Pavilion at Shanghai Expo in 2010, and the RIBA Stirling award for Peckham Library in London (in 2000) and the Sainsbury Laboratory in Cambridge (in 2012).
Hanif’s career extends beyond the structural engineering disciplines. In 2011, he received the UK ACE Engineering Ambassador Award and became the first engineer to be a judge for the annual coveted RIBA Stirling Prize. He is on the board of trustees for the Architecture Foundation and was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 2007.
Kara is currently a Professor in Practice of Architectural Technology at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, but has also taught at the Architecture Association in London and KTH Stockhom. In 2008, he became the first engineer to serve as a commissioner for the CABE (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment), a position he held until 2011. From 2007 to 2008, he was a member of the Design for London Advisory Group to the Mayor or London.
Hanif Kara’s talk is part of the 2012-2013 bulthaup lecture series.