39186 Vacant Rooms

VAPAA Collective
Casa Farias

With the collaboration of Instituto Iberoamericano de Finlandia

Since 1970, 68% of vertebrates on Earth have become extinct. For smaller creatures and plants, the number is likely to be even higher and one of the main reasons is the change that has happened in land use over the last 50 years. Urbanization has been rapid and as contemporary Western societies draw a clear line between built and natural environments, our cities are not built with the needs of non-human species in mind. While we might enjoy visiting nature, most of us don’t live amongst it anymore. When other animals or organisms try to inhabit our attics or barns, we are quick to clean them out. As cities continue to grow, we must find ways of accommodating nature within our cities, if we are to stop the irreversible biodiversity loss. This means that architects need to start designing not only for humans, but also for other living beings. Pollinating insects are of particular importance, as they are essential to all food production on Earth.

39186 Vacant Rooms blurs the boundary between human and natural. It creates a sanctuary in the city centre not only for people, but also for other species. The installation is an experience for festival goers, but at the same time the structure doubles as an insect hotel with tens of thousands of cavities for pollinating insects to dwell in. The permeable structure weaves together the two sides, city and nature, and forces us to ask: What needs to change in society, our sense of aesthetics and in our attitudes, for us to welcome other creatures and organisms back into our urban environments.

After the festival the installation can be disassembled into smaller units, which can be adopted by citizens to place in their backyards or on their balconies. This gives every festival goer an opportunity to be part of the change and help sustain biodiversity in the city.

VAPAA Collective

The built environment accounts for approximately 40% of all greenhouse gas emissions and at its current manifestations creates constant conflict with natural environments. Consequently, architects should be at the forefront of coming up with creative solutions to mitigate this complex issue of climate crisis. VAPAA Collective was founded to examine this potential. In addition to their design work, the collective members curate, write and lecture widely on the subject of architecture in the era of climate crisis. They have consulted for various public and private actors, such as the Finnish Ministry of Environment.

VAPAA Collective consists of three Finnish architects: Iines Karkulahti, Charlotte Nyholm and Meri Wiikinkoski. Their expertise covers all scales of architectural design from small pavilions to urban plans for entire neighborhoods. Iines Karkulahti is an architect and urban designer who specializes in shaping public spaces and utilizing research based knowledge as part of the creative process. Charlotte Nyholm is an architect and city planner experienced in reconciling conflicting interests in order to solve complex challenges within the urban environment. Meri Wiikinkoski’s work blurs the line between art and architecture. She focuses especially on public buildings and has been successful in several architectural competitions. The collective members also all teach at Aalto University department of Architecture in Helsinki, Finland.

With the collaboration of

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