Finnish architecture seems to have an expanding trait in socially and ecologically responsible design for third world communities. One of the most recent accomplishments is the Kouk Khleang Youth Centre by KOMITU workgroup completed in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in January 2014. The main materials of the building are bamboo, compressed earth blocks and recycled plastic bottles. KOMITU architects have utilised these locally available and ecological materials in an environmentally sustainable fashion according to modern building practices.
The design was initiated during the ‘Cambodia Studio’ design course at the Aalto University, Department of Architecture in spring 2010; after the course, the then students of architecture formed the KOMITU workgroup and started working for funding and local partners. During the design and building process, KOMITU architects worked closely with local students of architecture and engineering. The project was executed in collaboration with Cambodian Volunteers for Society (CSV) and Khmer Kampuchea Centre Krom for Human Rights and Development Association (KKKHRDA), two Cambodian non-governmental organisations working with the youth in poor urban communities in Phnom Penh.
The KOMITU architects workgroup is formed by Noora Aaltonen (1983), Sisko Hovila (1984), Tuuli Kassi, (1982), Maiju Suomi (1984), Elina Tenho (1985) and Inari Virkkala (1984). KOMITU is a member of a Finnish non-governmental organisation Ukumbi which offers architectural services to communities in need. The principal supporters of the project are Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, The Finnish Cultural Foundation and Arts Promotion Centre Finland.
Komitu Architects web site: www.komituarchitects.org
The project is on display at the Our City festival 24.1.–16.2.2014 at Meta House Art Cafe, Phnom Penh, Cambodia: ourcityfestival.org