The prestigious Asko Avonius Award 2018 to Arkki International CEO and Arkki Co-founder Pihla Meskanen

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.’

For more information
Pihla Meskanen | CEO of Arkki International Ltd.
pihla@arkki.net / 050 517 4602 / Kalevankatu 31 a 14, 00100 Helsinki

 Asko Avonius Award
The Asko Avonius Design Prize, awarded by the Asko Foundation, is presented every third year and is worth €20,000. The Asko Foundation supports the development of Finnish design and environmental culture, and promotes improvements in the quality of locally manufactured products.

 Arkki International Ltd.
The Arkki School of Architecture for Children and Youth is the leading institution in architectural education for children and youth in the world, founded in Finland in 1993. Arkki education empowers children and youth with innovation skills, holistically intertwining the cognitive, behavioural, functional and technical aspects. The objective is to support children and youth to become innovative influencers of the future through architecture education – whatever their chosen vocation may be. Architecture combines arts and diverse sciences and hence architecture education supports inter-disciplinary learning of different phenomenons. In Finland Arkki belongs to the network of art education institutes that have been certified by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture to offer school children extracurricular visual art education. Arkki International Ltd. is the company licensing the Arkki education concept globally. So far Arkki Schools are located in 14 cities in Finland, Greece, Cyprus, Czech Republic and Vietnam. Arkki is an official member of a national education export program Education Finland program, offering Finnish educational know-how and learning solutions globally.