Q&A with Karim Hassanein, Bora’s New Communications + Storytelling Strategist

by Bora Architects

Bora is excited to announce that Karim Hassanein has been promoted to Communications + Storytelling Strategist. Respected for his thoughtfulness and design abilities combined with his passion to create authentic spaces for people, Karim will be elevating the overarching stories behind our work as they relate to people and place, sustainability and equity. This new role is a strategic part of Bora’s vision to leverage the power of story in our design approach. 

Share a little about your Bora journey and what led you here. 
“I’ve been working in marketing at Bora for the last six years, coming into this role from a background in Landscape Architecture. A big part of the reason I made this shift was because I believe that storytelling and communication are central to the design process. Not only as a means of sharing the work we do, but as a process of co-creation, where we practice deep listening and strive to understand what needs and values motivate our stakeholders.”

Why do you believe storytelling is so important for a design practice? 
“Storytelling is the way we frame what we believe to be true and important so that others can understand why we choose to make certain decisions. There is immense power in this process, and it’s something I don’t think we spend enough time considering as an industry. It’s possible to make a sales pitch that appeals to a particular audience without responding to the deeper needs that bind us together in community. It’s possible to design a building that looks beautiful and wins awards, but that exists devoid of meaning or value to the people who encounter it every day. And it’s possible to describe a design without addressing the countless human hands that poured care and craft into the final result.”

What will storytelling look like for you at Bora? 
“To me, Bora’s investment in a dedicated storytelling role reflects a recognition that stories have power, and that we want to be more intentional about how we wield that power. We want to make our values visible in our work, and we want to work with clients and communities that share those values, that will push us to live up to the things we say we care about. I view my role as facilitating a culture of inclusive, heart-centered communication both internally and externally.

“Fundamentally, although my title implies that I tell stories, I believe it is about dialogue. It’s about really listening to the people whose lives Bora impacts and making sure that we’re telling stories that catalyze a movement towards Design Justice—both within our own practice and within our broader community.” 

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