From KarmBuild to KAL – The Origin Story

Following the four initial founders’ launch of KarmSolar back in 2011, a fifth member joined the team to launch the establishment of one of the very first sustainable architecture firms in Egypt. That member was none other thanCo-Founder and former Principal Architect of Karm Architecture Lab Karim El Kafrawi.

The Very First Architecture Project

Shortly after landing KarmSolar’s very first project with agri-developer Fridal to construct 33 wells for their farmland in Bahariya Oasis, the team decided to build a KarmSolar campus near the station to serve as an operations facility, as well as comfortable living quarters for the on-site technicians.

The whole campus was constructed almost entirely using discarded sandstone from the surrounding cleared rock hill mounds which had been cultivated by the agri-developer to make way for farmland.

KarmSolar Campus – Bahariya Oasis by Karm Architecture Lab (KAL)
KarmSolar Campus – Bahariya Oasis

Establishment of KarmBuild


Towards the end of construction, Fridal took notice of the campus and instantly fell in love with the idea of building using locally sourced, completely upcycled materials. KarmSolar was commissioned to design and construct solar-integrated living quarters for their workers’ village.

KarmBuild's First Project for Fridal – Bahariya Oasis by Karm Architecture Lab (KAL)
KarmBuild's First Project for Fridal – Bahariya Oasis

It was then that Ahmed Zahran, Co-Founder and CEO of KarmSolar noticed the potential of commercializing such a solution. The founders talked about what they thought was missing in Egypt; Karim wanted to design occupant-centric, energy-efficient, and sustainable built environments, whereas Ahmed’s whole belief and ideology was creating a state of energy independence where developers can have the right to manage their own energy.

And so, they started brainstorming holistic solutions where they could combine the two solutions they were both passionate about; exploring how they could design beautiful architectural structures that enhance user experience, all while reducing their energy dependency, and that’s how in early 2013, KarmBuild came to be.


Transition from KarmBuild to KAL


Karim had figured out very early on that architects did not possess the answer on their own. KarmBuild had thus adopted a fully integrated approach that involves the combination of the best minds when it came to architects, along with structural, mechanical, and construction engineers, to figure out the best possible methods for the project at hand. It was also a huge benefit to have KarmSolar’s energy proficiency integrated in the picture.

“By incorporating KarmSolar’s energy expertise, with KarmBuild’s construction expertise, and KAL’s design expertise, we were able to effectively ensure that the structure was being built as efficiently as possible,” says Karim.

 Karm Architecture Lab (KAL)
(From left to right) Karim El Kafrawi, former Principal Architect and Co-Founder of KAL, Farah Faheem, Principal Architect of KAL, Ahmed Dawoud, General Manager of KarmBuild

Ultimately, the company functions as a multi-specialized and team-oriented enterprise where every architect and engineer plays a role in the design, solution, and problem solving mechanism of building the project. The resulting collective exploration and collaboration ensures that the best ideas and most holistic solutions win and are adopted into the project.

The transition to Karm Architecture Lab was done for the purpose of separating the design house aspect from the construction aspect, so it can become more distinguished in its expertise. “Karm” was kept on as a way of paying homage to our roots, and the “Lab” represented the concept of being experimental and non-conventional.

San Benito Library – California, USA by Karm Architecture Lab (KAL)
San Benito Library – California, USA

KAL’s Commitment to the Future


KAL& KarmBuild have built a leading team of talented and creative experts with Ahmed Dawoud, Farah Faheem, Mahmoud Emad, Diaa Diab, who are dedicated to realizing KAL’s long-term goal of leading Egypt and the region in redefining and transforming the built environment. KAL does this through high-quality, sustainable, energy-efficient, and healthy built environments using innovative architectural and building technology solutions.

The Karm Architecture Lab (KAL) and KarmBuild Teams
The KAL and KarmBuild Teams

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