We are South of North

12 teams from the Nordic countries


We are South of North

12 teams from the Nordic countries

The desire to use architecture and design to enhance sustainability has increased exponentially over the last four decades. Widening the field of practice to include not only physical buildings but social and environmental progress – both locally and globally.


South of North is a collaboration between Nordic architects working in the non-profit sector in developing environments, currently active with an exhibition and a seminar series. During the last decade, emerging Nordic architect practices have been using their professional skills to support the less priviledged communities. Some of the important results of the projects so far have been improving the livelihood of women in Senegal, promoting ecological sanitation in Fiji and the proliferation of bambu building in Cambodia.

Interestingly, the South of North teams aim to involve the use of local and traditional techniques and customs during the planning and construction process. However, all the projects, despite being built in different locations all over the world, do share common elements.

The exhibition project enables the young teams to set the architecture under critical examination: What does our Nordic background bring to the projects? To whose taste is this kind of aesthetics? Is there a Nordic indentity in the buildings without us realising it? And most importantly, is it possible for a foreign architect to contribute positively to a development of the built environment in any foreign context? If so, how?

The project is a collaboration between several Nordic actors. The idea for the project derives from the experiences of two ongoing architecture projects: Kouk Khleang Youth Center by Komitu Architects in Cambodia and Econef Children’s Center by Asante Architecture & Design + Lönnqvist Vanamo Architects in Tanzania.


South of North Network Founders and Project Coordinators:

Pilvi Vanamo, architect

Lönnqvist Vanamo Architects
+46 763 525 73

Inari Virkkala, architect

Komitu Architects
skype: inari.virkkala


Ten of the South of North teams
were interviewed in South of North Seminar in Helsinki, October 2013.



South of North  – Lessons for the Future
Helsinki Seminari 10.-12.10.2013

Video production:

South of North
Interview Rasmus Wærn
Videos Jyri Rasinmäki

South of North Participants:

Yashar Hanstadt, TYIN tegnestue, Norway
Hildur Isdal Thorgeisdottir, Iceland
Frida Vang Petersen, Nina Wöhlk, Rune Asholt Thomsen, Tyra Dokkedahl, Architects without Borders, Denmark
Sami Rintala, Rintala Eggertsson Architects, Norway
Hilla Rudanko, Anssi Kankkunen, Architects Rudanko & Kankkunen, Finland
Pilvi Vanamo, Lönnqvist Vanamo Architects + Frida Öster, Carolina Wikström, Asante Architecture & Design, Sweden

Sisko Hovila, Tuuli Kassi, Inari Virkkala, Noora Aaltonen, Maiju Suomi, Elina Tenho, Komitu Architects, Finland
Ellen Heed, Anna Olsson, Architects without Borders, Sweden
Anna Sundman, Frida Boström, Architectural Environmental Strategies, Sweden
Helena Sandman, Jenni Reuter, Saija Hollmen,
Hollmen Reuter Sandman Architects, Finland

Realised with the support of

Swedish Arts Council
Nordic Culture Fond
Nordic Culture Point
The Swedish Arts Grants Committee
Letterstedtska Föreningen
Alfred Kordelin Foundation
Museum of Finnish Architecture
Arts Promotion Centre Finland
Ukumbi NGO