Hanif Kara

Professor in Practice of Architectural Technology

Professor Hanif Kara is a practicing Structural Engineer and Professor in Practice of Architectural Technology at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard. He is recognized for linking design, research, education and practice. He co-tutored a Diploma Unit at the Architecture Association, London from 2000 to 2004 and was a Visiting Professor of Architectural Technology at KTH Stockholm from 2007 to 2012.

As Design Director and co-founder of AKT II (est. 1996), his particular ‘design-led’ approach and interest in innovative form, pushing material uses, sustainable construction and complex analysis methods have allowed him to work on numerous pioneering projects at the forefront of many challenges facing the built environment.

The practice has won over 350 design awards including the RIBA Stirling Award for the Peckham Library, London in 2000, for the Sainsbury Laboratory, Cambridge in 2012, and for the Bloomberg European HQ, London in 2018 as well as the RIBA Lubetkin Prize for the UK Pavilion at Shanghai Expo in 2010. The practice also was awarded by Building Magazine as ‘Engineering Consultant of the Year 2019’.

Hanif’s career extends into wider areas of design beyond the structural engineering disciplines. This led to him receiving the UK ACE Engineering Ambassador Award in 2011. He is also the first engineer to be appointed on the Steering Committee for the highly regarded international AKAA (Aga Khan Award for Architecture) where he continues today and was on the AKAA Master Jury for the 2004. He is a fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Institute of Civil Engineers, Royal Academy of Engineering, Institute of Structural Engineering, the Royal Society of Arts, and on the board of trustees of the Architecture Foundation. Formerly he was a CABE (a National Watchdog commission for architecture and built environment) Commissioner and served as a member of the Design for London Advisory Group to the Mayor of London. Since 2015 he has served as a review panel member of the National Centres of Competence in Research (NCCR) (Digital Fabrication) at ETH Zurich and currently sits on the UK National Infrastructure Commission’s Design Task Force and Expert Advisory Group and is a member of the HS2 design review panel.

He has also contributed to a number of widely published works including ‘Design Engineering’, 2008, a retrospective of AKT’s first decade, and ‘Interdisciplinary Design: New Lessons from Architecture and Engineering’, 2012, co-published with Harvard. Recently he edited ‘Deliverance of Design – making, mending and revitalizing structures’, a look at the works of AKT II from 1996 – 2016. His most recent publications are ‘Design Engineering Refocused’ and the ‘Architecture of Waste’.


Bachelor of Science Honours (BSc (Hons))

Fellow of the Institute of Structural Engineers (FIStructE)

Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FAE)

Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects (Hon FRIBA)

Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts Manufactures and Commerce (FRSA)

Fellow of the Institute of Civil Engineers (FICE)

Chartered Engineer (CEng)