Hanif Kara is a practicing structural engineer and Professor in Practice of Architectural Technology at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. He is co-founder of AKT II London, where his design-led approach and interest in innovative forms, sustainable construction and complex analysis methods have allowed him to work on many pioneering projects. Under his design leadership, the practice has won over 300 design awards including the RIBA Stirling Prize for Peckham Library in 2000, and for Sainsbury Laboratory in 2012, as well as the RIBA Lubetkin Prize for the UK Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo 2010.
Professor Kara’s career extends beyond structural engineering disciplines. In 2011 he became the first engineer to serve as a judge for the annual RIBA Stirling Prize. He is a member of the board of trustees of the Architecture Foundation in London, and currently serves on a number of infrastructure design panels for the design council CABE (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment). From 2008 to 2011 he served as a commissioner for CABE, and as one of 15 members of the Design for London Advisory Group to the Mayor of London (2007- 2008). Professor Kara was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 2007. In 2014, he was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.
Professor Kara has published and lectured widely on issues of design, as well as editing the volumes Design Engineering (2008), Interdisciplinary Design: New Lessons from Architecture and Engineering (2012), and most recently, Design Engineering Refocused (2017) and Architecture & Waste (2017). He was a member of the Steering Committee for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2016, served on the Award Master Jury in 2004, and was a project reviewer for the Award in 2007, 2010 and 2013.
The architecture of any society reflects a community’s aspirations, aesthetic sense, economic well-being, and level of technological advancement. More importantly, architecture helps shape the vision of society. This installment of Visionary Voices explores how architecture serves as a medium of communication about what is significant to society.
In Islamic tradition, architecture has served as an exploration of the relationship between faith, culture, and identity, illustrating the diversity of expression in Muslim cultures and how each of these approaches the needs of modern society. Featuring Thomas Woltz, (Nelson, Byrd, Woltz Landscape Architecture) and Hanif Kara (co-founder of London-based structural engineering practice AKT II).