Pihla Meskanen receives the 2018 Asko Avonius Award

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Pihla Meskanen, the CEO of Arkki International and Co-founder of Arkki, received the prestigious Asko Avonius Award for her contribution in the field of architecture and design education both in Finland and internationally. The award winner was announced today September 6th at ASKO 100 celebration and seminar in Lahti.

According to the chairwoman of the Asko Foundation board, professor Sirpa Asko-Seljavaara, the achievements of Pihla Meskanen in the field of architecture and design education are remarkable. Arkki education concept developed by Meskanen evokes children’s and youth’s interest in the built environment, as well as gives them means for influencing the world around them. Hence, Pihla Meskanen advances the purpose of Asko Foundation in an excellent way.

Among her other achievements at Arkki, Pihla Meskanen has been active in developing participatory design methods for children and youth, which have been used in planning and implementing dozens of participatory projects in collaboration with cities, construction companies and other organizations. The latest project ‘Child Friendly City’ was carried out during summer 2018 in Ho Chi Minh City in collaboration with Unicef Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City Department of Planning and Architecture and Saigon Innovation Hub, a government-back agency under the Department of Science and Technology of Ho Chi Minh City with the mission to establish Ho Chi Minh City into a startup and innovation hub of South East Asia.

Asko Foundation has enabled an installation ‘Puzzle Blocks’ by Pihla Meskanen at the main site of Helsinki Design Week. The installation is part of Children’s Design Week program and is built together with Arkki pupils from a set of building blocks designed by Pihla Meskanen in 2014. The set includes 26 different shapes that enable kids to build endless new combinations and variations, inspiring them to experiment and construct spaces, huts and houses. The pieces are shaped from lightweight polystyrene by water cutting, allowing kids to realize even their highest dream towers. The Puzzle Blocks series was inspired – amongst other things – by Charles and Ray Eames’s card game ‘House of Cards’. Quoting the Eames: ‘Toys are not really as innocent as they look. Toys and games are preludes to serious ideas.’