Just the beginning...

28 Apr 2011

Single design by architecture students inspires formulation of new design studio

This colourful vocational training centre in the unprivileged village of Sra Pou in Cambodia is the brainchild Architects Rudanko + Kankkunen. Initiated as a university project by students Hilla Rudanko and Anssi Kankkunen at Aalto University, the two inspirational designers founded their flourishing practice during the development of this scheme.

The concept behind this project was to utilise local materials, traditional building techniques and labour from the community to generate a public facility that could act as a catalyst for change in the area. Now completed, this vocational training centre and community building provides professional training and sustainable business advice to residents in the local community, bringing like-minded people together in a positive environment to inspire the generation of new ideas.

All elements of the build were undertaken by hand, from the creation of red blocks of sundried soil, to manual construction techniques, to the brightly coloured panels that act as partial sunshades. Labourers are trained onsite using simple but effective construction systems that can be replicated on their own houses in the future.

Initially composed as an imaginary student project, Rudanko and Kankkunen felt so strongly about the need for a scheme of this magnitude that they organised the physical construction with support from the local community of Sra Pou and private donors, founding their own architecture practice in the process.

Now a thriving studio specialising in civic building design, this inaugural project by talented creatives Rudanko and Kankkunen exemplifies the promise of this exciting young practice. Small details such as little gaps left in the brickwork to permit shafts of light and a gentle breeze during the day and an ethereal glow at night suggest that this firm has much more to show in the near future.

This year WAN initiated a new sector of its prominent awards scheme – 21 for 21 – in an effort to uncover and celebrate talented young practices and aspiring designers. A judging panel including the welcome faces of David West and Grant Brooker will meet later this week to select the 21 most exemplary practices from the flood of entries, marking the first step in what promises to be an enlightening sector of the WAN AWARDS.

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