The prominent architectural magazine The Architectural Review has selected Architects Rudanko + Kankkunen from Helsinki, Finland, in their 2014 list of 3o projects by 30 architects under 30 years old. The 30 under 30 series, according to AR’s web site, “challenge the tired stereotype of architecture as an old man’s game.” Both Hilla Rudanko (b. 1987) and Anssi Kankkunen (b. 1983) received their Master’s degree in architecture at Aalto University, School of Arts and Design, Department of Architecture, in 2011.
Rudanko + Kankkunen’s breakthrough project is their design for the Sra Pou Vocational School in Cambodia (2010–2012). The project started as a design studio course ‘Cambodia studio’ in spring 2010 including a field trip to work with a local NGO. During the process, Rudanko and Kankkunen turned a university project into reality and founded their firm. Rudanko and Kankkunen also joined Ukumbi, a Finnish ngo with a mission to offer architectural services to communities in need, whose founders Saija Hollmén, Jenni Reuter and Helena Sandman have made pioneering work both as architects and university teachers.
These architects seem to recognise the role of architecture as a social art while a strong emphasis towards personal engagement is also evident.
— The Architectural Review, www.architectural-review.com/home/30-under-30/, access date 6 Feb 2014
The purpose of the vocational training centre is to encourage and teach poor families to earn their own living. The school building is made out of local materials with local workforce. According to Rudanko + Kankkunen, the aim was to encourage the community to make the most out of the materials that are easily available. The building budget was extremely low and the materials scarce, so sundried soil blocks were chosen as the main construction material. The soil block walls are laid out with small holes in order to let in indirect sunlight and gentle wind for cooling.
Location : Sra Pou, Oudong, Cambodia
Function : Vocational training and small business centre
Client : Sra Pou community, represented by Blue Tent NGO
Floor area : 150 m2
Construction cost: USD 15 000
Main material: Hand-made sundried soil block
Architect: Architects Rudanko + Kankkunen
Structural advisor: Advancing Engineering Consultants
Construction management: Architects Rudanko + Kankkunen
Project and financial management: Architects Rudanko + Kankkunen
Companies that donated funds for building: Wienerberger, Micro Aided Design, ISS Finland, Ecophon / Saint-Gobain, Uulatuote, and Puuinfo.