Hanif Kara recognized with Order of the British Empire Award

Hanif Kara.

Hanif Kara, professor in practice of Architectural Technology at the Graduate School of Design. Photo courtesy of GSD

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In recognition of his services in architecture, engineering, and education, Professor Hanif Kara received an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire award (OBE) in the Queen’s New Year Honours List. “I am overwhelmed and grateful to so many people who have supported me over the years,” Kara said in an email. “To be recognized in the three fields — architecture, engineering and education — is particularly satisfying.” The twice-yearly award recognizes the achievements and contributions of extraordinary people across the UK.

Internationally known for linking design, research, education, and practice, Kara is a professor in practice of Architectural Technology at the GSD. He is also design director and co-founder of AKT II, a design-driven structural engineering firm based in London with satellite studios in Manchester, Cambridge (England), and Copenhagen. His particular approach and interest in innovative form, pushing material uses, sustainable construction, and complex analysis methods have allowed him to work on pioneering projects that tackle numerous challenges facing the built environment today. Follow Kara and AKT II on Instagram at @hanif.kara and @akt_ii.

AKT II has won over 350 design awards including, recently, the RIBA Stirling Prize for Town House at Kingston University, a multipurpose student hub in London, designed in collaboration with Grafton Architects. In 2021, a retrofit scheme, 100 Liverpool S., was awarded Project of the Year by Building Awards and won the “working” category at the New London Architecture Awards. AKT II supported Hopkins Architects to deliver the net-zero building, which now serves as a blueprint for future sustainable developments.

In spring 2022, Kara will teach “Unterbau City,” an option studio that juxtaposes heritage with/against progress at a mixed-use development in Regent Quarter, a 5.8-acre site in London. The studio will offer a critical examination of urban scale with a particular focus on public open space, circulation, and historic preservation while developing students’ capacity to employ collective planning strategies.