Engineers of the future will require capacities that, until now, have been largely optional. Structural Engineering and those who practice it are often perceived as a convergent profession positioned to respond only to questions set by others. Hanif will talk about the discipline rather than the profession through the work he has been leading at AKT II, which attempts to bring technology, craft and construction to the fore in a coherent way. He will present questions formulated in practice that have been partly answered and also add the experiences from teaching at design schools from a technological lens. The work presented will vary in scale, geography and materiality, but will have the threads of high quality design and minor innovations as a base and will not rely solely on the expansion of his own discipline, in order to formulate new spaces for research and practice to face the current opportunities.
Hanif Kara is a practicing Structural Engineer and Professor in Practice of Architectural Technology at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard. He has previously been a Professor of Architectural Technology at KTH Stockholm and also taught at the Architectural Association London.
As Creative Director and Co-founder of AKTII (Est 1996), his particular ‘design-led’ approach and interest in innovative form, material uses, and sustainability and complex analysis methods, have allowed him to work on pioneering projects that deal with challenges faced by communities. The practice has won over 350 design awards including the RIBA Stirling Award for Peckham Library, London in 2000, Sainsbury Laboratory, Cambridge in 2012 and Bloomberg HQ, London in 2018.
Hanif’s career extends beyond the structural engineering disciplines, as a fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Institute of Civil Engineers, Royal Academy of Engineering, Institution of Structural Engineers as well as the Royal Society of Arts. Formerly Hanif has been a CABE Commissioner and served as a member of the Design for London Advisory Group to the Mayor of London.
Hanif was on the Master Jury for the 2004 cycle of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture (AKAA) and currently serves on the Steering Committee for the AKAA. Since 2015 he has served as a review panel member of the National Centres of Competence in Research (NCCR Digital Fabrication) at ETH Zurich.
Hanif has published and contributed to a wide selection of 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 revitalising 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’.
photo © AKT II