3.–11.6. Vapaa Collective performing Architectural Acts of Care at LFA

3.–11.6. Vapaa Collective performing Architectural Acts of Care at LFA

During the first week of London Festival of Architecture Vapaa Collective (Iines Karkulahti, Charlotte Nyholm and Meri Wiikinkoski) hosts architectural performances and a symposium in London inviting visitors to reflect on the architectural processes of care. Through performing these everyday acts, Vapaa Collective’s work presents them as a part of architecture equal to physical pieces and designs. The acts of care are brought out from behind the scenes, and presented as elemental to understanding architecture and design.

The work carried out by Vapaa Collective at the London Festival of Architecture consists of a context research in collaboration with Garry Hunter and Suzanne Harb of Fitzrovia Noir, architectural performances spanning over the week, and a symposium held at Somerset House. The Collective’s work will form a part of the recordings of Architectural Acts of Care, a three part project series spanning over the year of 2024 in Helsinki, London and New York.

Vapaa Collective describe their practice as follows:

‘According to modernist principles largely still prevalent in our society, architecture is thought to be created in isolation on the Architect’s drawing board, and its processes understood to end with the completion of the building. Participating in architecture is thought to be purely in the hands of professionals. This understanding includes the idea of ‘maintenance-free’, which continues to dominate our environmental sensitivity, and leads us to consider buildings as static objects whose maintenance, care, is merely a nuisance. Just as the care of children, seniors and others carried out at homes (by women) is not seen as productive ‘work’, similarly the processes sustaining our built environment are not seen as an intrinsic part of architecture. Framed as feminine, care has been displaced from its place as a life-sustaining force and pushed to the margins, out of sight.

However, the environmental crises of our time demand the acknowledgement of the finite nature of Earth’s resources. Thus also the focus of architecture and design will shift away from the finalised-in-one-go, disposable piece and emphasise their role as a dynamic ‘act’, a nurturing of pre-existing works. Alongside the traditional terms of repair and maintenance, the introduction of the term ‘care’ emphasises the repetitive and continuous nature of these processes. It highlights the emotional bond related to the act, and the meaning of the act to its actor. Care is not just an abstract work to be commissioned, but the carer’s personal relation to the act itself.

As we begin to define architecture more comprehensively as an act of care, it expands from design to the ‘art of dwelling’, where the dweller becomes part of the continuum of the building, of the architectural process. It is closing the windows on a rainy day, sweeping the grains of gravel from hallways. It’s wearing woollen socks on a chilly night, before the thermostat catches up. Dwelling isn’t confined only to buildings, but also to the built environment being formed around them. Thus, every person living in a man-made environment inhabits buildings and the built environment, and thus participates in the processes of architecture in their daily lives, being part of the continuous force sustaining it. Architecture as an act of care is a collective act.’


This project is commissioned by the Finnish Institute in the UK and Ireland in partnership with the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York and Consulate General of Finland in New York. The project is part of the pARTir initiative funded by the European Union – NextGenerationEU.

Architectural Acts of Care Symposium,  Saturday 8 June, 1pm-4.30pm, screening room at Somerset House. Book your free tickets via this link!

Read more about Vapaa Collective and the project on our website here.

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