The Finnish Design Deed 2018 honored architecture education of the youth

Arkki, School of Architecture for Children and Youth, has been recognized with the Design Deed 2018 award. The Design Deed of the Year prize is awarded annually by Design from Finland to a Finnish enterprise that has shown originality, responsibility, and utilized design as part of everyday life. This was the seventh time the prize was awarded, and the very first time it was awarded to an educational institution.

Arkki received the Design Deed award at Habitare, the largest furniture, design and interior decoration event in Finland, on 12th September 2018. Arkki has been providing basic architecture education and courses in designing lodges, miniatures, models, visual arts, animation, and 3D computer design for years with the motto Play – Create – Succeed as their guiding light.

The world of Finnish design keeps growing

The jury consisted of Industrial Counsellor Kari Kallonen, Hakola Huonekalu Oy’s (winner of 2016) Creative Director Annaleena Hämäläinen, Ornamo’s Board Chairperson Kristian Keinänen, and Association for Finnish Work Managing Director Tero Lausala. The jury appreciated Arkki’s educational approach and influence, as well as its exemplary character. Awarding Arkki also underlines, the sometimes forgotten, immaterial aspects of design and the fact that Finnish design keeps evolving and growing to new areas.

“We see the design and architectural education and influence provided by the Arkki as an ideal. Children get to acquaint themselves with design and architecture at a young age and are able to understand matter, and also demand better design from companies later as consumers. Arkki’s pupils are found in various professions, from lawyers to adventure experience coordinators. With this perspective, we are also impressively bringing forth architecture as part of the design,” jury member Annaleena Hämäläinen says.

Encouragement – The key to innovation

Arkki School of Architecture for Children and Youth was established in 1993 by three architects: Tuuli Tiitola-Meskanen, Miina Vuorinen, and Pihla Meskanen. Today over 8.000 children participate in Arkki’s courses and workshops every year and hundreds of architects have participated in the architectural education offered by Arkki.

“The Design Deed of the Year prize is a recognition and sign of appreciation for our entire team, which has long been involved in creativity-based education,” Pihla Meskanen, Head of Arkki says. “We are celebrating 25 years of operation, so this award really is icing on the cake.”

At Arkki the courses emphasize learning by playing and the pupils are encouraged to experiment without fear of failure. The inspiring and encouraging atmosphere is designed to build courage, which is believed to be the key to creating new innovations.

“Our courses are meant to develop creativity and awaken interest towards built environments in the future generations, so they have the tools to be part of the decision-making and building of their future surroundings. The fact that an educational institute such as us is awarded with this prize is a great recognition of children and youth education’s value in design and architecture,” Meskanen describes.

 A global future ahead

Arkki doesn’t only operate in Finland, the school a global pioneer in the architectural education of children. At the moment Arkki operates in 14 cities in five countries via Arkki International Oy: Finland, Greece, Cyprus, Czech Republic, and Vietnam. But the plan is to keep growing to new countries.

“We are planning to expand in the future years to 10 Southeast Asian countries. We started operating in Vietnam this year as a pilot project in Asia. Arkki International works as a licensing model. This means we will be training local professionals in new areas, and once they are trained, they are ready to share their information and grow Arkki and children’s architecture education to new areas. I see a bright future ahead for Arkki and architecture education,” Meskanen concludes.