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Bull sculpture.
Cassia Co-op Training Centre by TYIN tegnestue architects. Photo: Pasi Aalto.

South of North at the Helsinki Design Week festival 2014

The South of North network of 12 Nordic architects will present their works at a joint exhibition during Helsinki Design Week, 5–14 September 2014. The network also hosts a Nordic-African discussion event at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia 19 September 2014

South of North is a Nordic collaboration project between twelve young architecture practices working in the non-profit sector in developing regions. The members of the South of North network aim to use their professional skills to support underprivileged communities. Some of the most significant impacts of the collaborative thus far include improving the livelihood of women in Senegal, promoting ecological sanitation in Fiji, and the proliferation of bamboo construction in Cambodia.

The South of North traveling exhibition will be presented in Helsinki as part of the Helsinki Design Week, 5 –14 September 2014. The exhibition at the Abattoir (fin. Teurastamo, Työpajankatu 2, 00580 Helsinki) opens on Friday, September 5 and gives a Nordic perspective to the globally growing phenomenon: emerging architectural practices committing to global issues related to ecological and social sustainability. The exhibition pavilion will be constructed entirely of recycled materials, reflecting the design principles of the South of North network. The walls and the roof are constructed of old potato boxes which will be returned to their original use after the exhibition.

The formation of the South of North network was originally inspired by the experiences of Finnish architects Inari Virkkala (Komitu Architects) and Pilvi Vanamo (Lönnqvist Vanamo Architects) working with a similar kind of projects, both in foreign contexts. Komitu Architects was designing a youth center in Cambodia, and Vanamo was working with a children’s center in Tanzania. The architects observed a growing engagement surrounding such projects among other Nordic architecture practices, and founded a network for sharing knowledge and analyzing the phenomenon.

In addition to Helsinki Design Week, South of North is present  the 14th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia on the 19th of September 2014. South of North hosts Mouthful of Meetings, a seminar inviting contemporary African and Nordic architects to a cross-cultural dialogue on socially engaged architecture.

Nigerian architect Kunlé Adeyemi (NLÉ), the founder of South-African Makeka Design Lab, Mokena Makeka, Zimbabwean architect Maxwell Mutanda (CA’ASI, Young Architects in Africa exhibition) and one of the founders of the Rwandan-based Active Social Architecture, Tomà Berlanda, are featured in the conversation. The Nordic countries are represented by Ulrika Stenkula from Swedish White Architects, Daniel Harald Baumann from Danish Henning Larsen Architects as well as members from the South of North network. The discussion will be moderated by Andres Lepik (Director, Architekturmuseum der Technische Universität Munchen) and Justine Bell (South African architect).

Econef Children's Center.
Econef Children’s Center.