HKA | Hermann Kamte & Associates is a global studio for sustainable architecture, engineering, urbanism, and industrial design, founded by Hermann Kamte in 2017. Since then, he, and the team around him, have established an international practice with a worldwide reputation. We work as a single studio that is both ethnically and culturally diverse.
Our goal is to deliver inviting buildings that are a pleasure to work, live, learn, or play in. We contribute to the community through excellence in design and innovation.
Each project we do has a unique story. We hope each captures the spirit of its client and community and enhances the wonder of living. A beautiful building falls short if it doesn’t also speak to us with meaning; if it doesn’t connect with a story; and if it doesn’t contribute to a positive experience.
We believe that good buildings are good neighbors. That may mean they are modest and quiet, or it may mean they need to take a bold stance. As a good neighbor, they must understand how they influence others and how the size of their footprint impacts ecosystems and climate change as a whole.
We have become internationally known for our leadership in building with advanced wood products and technologies, and we love to use these materials where appropriate; that said, we strive to choose systems and finishes for each project based on our clients’ needs.
From our experience, we recognize that value and budgets go beyond the construction site and should be considered with respect to the overall operating costs. As designers, we are attentive to issues such as energy performance, durability, and overall maintenance; all issues that affect the true cost of the building.
Through diversity we find wonder. From the diversity of our projects, clients, and staff we gather knowledge from one type of project and hand it to the next, avoiding cookie-cutter solutions. Our skylines should be diverse but complementary.
We also believe in possibility. We thrive in the optimism that all projects, big and small, high-end, or very modest, can be exceptional if we do what we do best: dream big and walk with our clients on an inventive and ambitious path.
HKA is a Cameroonian based team of young designers and thinkers operating within the fields of architecture, urbanism, interior design, product design, and research. Research is a key design driver for HKA. As designers, we are fortunate to experience the overall process, from the first conceptual phase to the completion of high-quality projects. 3D and parametric modeling tools are at the center of our design process, and we use them to quickly develop many design concepts to evaluate using simulation and testing software. Many of our projects involve complex geometry that is developed through bespoke-written algorithmic definitions and parametric scripts. A thorough process of experimentation with geometry, material choices, space layout, innovative building practices, contemporary theory, blockchain technology, and big data is conducted once a project direction has been established.
Our practice has adopted BIM (Building Modelling Information) technology since its inception, embracing the benefits of early design integration, coordination, and collaboration with all members of the project team. Collaboration with clients, consultants, and suppliers is central to our working methodology and allows us to work at various scales, in several sectors, and with different disciplines. Early 3D design and validation are used to assist coordination and facilitate clash detection – identifying critical interface issues before construction, and minimizing the risks associated with the redesign and over-estimating cost.
At HKA, BIM is a process, not just a model. From the earliest sketches, through to simulation and specifications, onto construction drawings and facility management, all parts of our integrated and collaborative design process is part of a cohesive workflow that brings together the best possible minds to solve complex problems. BIM makes coordination part of an integrated and collaborative design process that reduces clashes and prevents significant re-working.
HKA’s BIM data provides a common platform on which designers and cost consultants work together to deliver project value. Merging cost data with continuously updated geometry in the BIM environment produces accurate cost models that give clients cost certainty.
From the earliest stages of our projects, HKA uses climatic and contextual data to inform sustainable designs. We use BIM to evaluate design options and simulate building performance.
HKA sets out to explore the extreme frontiers of domesticity in the age of network culture with the vision to create a decentralized architecture office and open industry platform.
HKA is fundamentally driven to advance architectural agency: we believe Architecture should do things, not simply represent things. We emphasize performance, a hybrid of form and function calibrated to each client’s aspirations, and each project’s constraints. Unprejudiced by convention or a preconceived aesthetic strategy, we return to root problems and doggedly explore them with critical naiveté. Sometimes we discover uncharted territory; sometimes we rediscover forgotten territory that has renewed usefulness; sometimes we reaffirm conventions with assured conviction. Through this process, we expose solutions that transcend those we could have initially or individually imagined, and aspire to create radically functional designs whose specificity produces profoundly unique aesthetic experiences.
We challenge and advance typologies.
HKA feels it is time for Architecture to do things again, not just represent things.
We design collaborations rather than dictate solutions.
The proliferation of the “starchitecture” phenomenon reduces teams to individuals and their collaborative work to genius sketches. It diminishes the real teamwork that drives celebrated architecture. HKA believes architects should guide collaboration rather than impose solutions. We replace the traditional notion of authorship—“I created this building”—with “We nurtured this process.”
We embrace responsibility in order to implement a vision.
The implementation of good ideas demands as much, if not more, creativity than their conceptualization. Increasingly reluctant to assume liability, architects have retreated from the accountability (and productivity) of Master Builders to the safety (and impotence) of stylists. To execute the vision and retain the insight that facilitates architectural invention, HKA re-engages responsibility. Processes, including contractual relationships and procurement strategies, are tools with which we design.
We side with neither form nor function.
HKAbelieves that the struggle between form and function is superficial and unproductive. By emphasizing performance instead—a hybrid of form and function calibrated to each client’s aspirations and each project’s constraints—we free architecture from the tired debate over whether it is an art or a tool. Art performs; tools perform.
We don’t rush to architectural conclusions.
The largest obstacle facing clients and architects is their failure to speak a common language. By taking adequate time to think with our clients before commencing the traditional design process, we provide solutions to greater clarity and quality. With our clients, we identify the core questions they face and establish shared positions from which we collectively evaluate the architectural proposals that follow.
We reach for the unexpected by exposing root problems.
We don’t innovate for innovation’s sake. Nor do we accept predigested solutions. We return to root problems and doggedly explore them with critical naiveté. Unprejudiced by convention, we expose solutions that transcend those we could have initially or individually imagined. Sometimes we discover uncharted territory; sometimes we rediscover forgotten territory that has renewed usefulness; sometimes we reaffirm conventions with assured conviction.
We view constraints as opportunities.
Engaged intelligently, project challenges such as site conditions, budgets, schedules, codes, and politics are opportunities that catalyze the most innovative solutions. Architectural concepts that capitalize on our clients’ constraints will surpass any vision that resists intractable realities. We produce specific designs that are highly effective, not universals diluted in an application.
We advance new strategies for flexibility.
Despite an increased need to accommodate change, the contemporary design still relies on an antiquated version of flexibility: one size fits all. The promise of a blank slate upon which any activity can occur has produced sterile, unresponsive architecture. HKA advocates discretizing activities and addressing the possible evolutions of each on its own terms. With this strategy, one activity can evolve without sacrificing another, and collisions between activities unleash surprising potentials.
We love the banal.
HKA dares to be dumb.