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ABOUT US

Vokal is an architectural practice founded by architects Ella Kaira and Matti Jänkälä. We are located in Helsinki, Finland.

Our approach to architecture and urban design is community-based and research-driven. We employ a blend of architectural design methods and research in order to explore the dynamics between architecture, social movements, and property markets within the contemporary city. 

At Vokal, we believe in the importance of communication. When engaging with communities, a need for a common language becomes evident.

Storytelling methods can foster an understanding of our built environment and reveal the underlying forces driving urban development.

 

A wealth of knowledge exists regarding people's needs and desires in cities. Our aim is to bring forth this information in the urban planning process. 

Our approach is based on a deep understanding of place and local communities. Cities are most effectively conceived when involving the people who inhabit and utilize them. Being vocal helps to create urban environments that are beneficial, accessible and welcoming to a diverse populace.

IT'S TIME TO BE VOKAL.

PARTICIPATORY WORKSHOPS

Workshops are valuable platforms where we employ architectural tools like scale models, drawings, and maps to effectively uncover the needs and desires of local communities in their immediate surroundings. Our focus is to ensure that this information is seamlessly translated into tangible architectural and urban plans.

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PUBLIC DISCUSSIONS

We believe in engaging the public in discussions about pressing issues related to architecture and urban development. Valuable insights can be gleaned from residents, city dwellers, and anyone who interacts with the physical environment within our cities.

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2/11-30/11 New York City        

From the Ground Up

Artist residency

Vokal participated in the Finnish Cultural Institute's architecture residency in November 2023. Throughout the residency, we will explore the interplay between climate change and social movements, delving into how communities adapt to climate change through the occupation and appropriation of their own environment.

fciny.org/residency

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14/7/2022 Meri-Rastila         

It's Time to Talk About Monstrosities

Exhibition & Discussion Event

You Tell Me Collective in collaboration with Porin Kulttuurisäätö & City of Helsinki

“Such ugly shacks, monstrosities are being protected, this reaches the limits of unintentional comedy. This fervent desire to protect buildings went too far a long time ago” writes a commenter by the nickname Näin se vain on, or That’s just how it is in English, on a newspaper article in 2019 on the topic of Hotel Vuoranta being under a building protection law.
 

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28/11/2023 Cooper Triangle, New York

Reclaim the Triangle

Participatory Workshop

The concluding exhibition and workshop of the FCINY residency and project, "From the Ground Up" organized on Tuesday, November 28th, from 12 pm onward at Cooper Triangle.

 

At the event ”Reclaim the Triangle” we shared insights from our residency period on community-based practices in New York City's climate adaptation. Participants were invited to envision how to reshape their surroundings, drawing inspiration from community-led efforts, including community-based organizations, community gardens, and landmarks like New York's inaugural community land trust at Cooper Square.

fciny.org/residency

LOGBOOK

A logbook of neighborhood stories and events aids us in charting the intangible and social values ingrained in our cities, which, in turn, can be explored when making decisions related to urban development.

27/10/2023 Meri-Rastila

Helsinki, Finland

"Hidden Sanctuaries"

12/6/2023 Meri-Rastila

Helsinki, Finland

"Temporary Buildings on Rental Lots"

25/10/2022 Meri-Rastila

Helsinki, Finland

"Beyond Repair?"

25/10/2022 Meri-Rastila

Helsinki, Finland

"An Endangered Landmark"

24/9/2023 Meri-Rastila

Helsinki, Finland

"Yearning for Roots"

5/9/1989 Meri-Rastila

Helsinki, Finland

"History of a neighborhood"

18/8/2023 Meri-Rastila

Helsinki, Finland

"It's all so secretive"

04/02/2023 Edgemere, Queens

New York City, United States

"Managed Retreat"

02/08/1962 Penn Station, Chelsea

New York City, United States

"Preservation Beyond Landmarks"

13/02/1970 Cooper Square

New York City, United States

"Community Control Over Land"

16/11/2023 Harlem

New York City, United States

"Organizing for Environmental Justice"

9/11/2023 Downtown New York City

New York City, United States

"Striving for Collective Resiliency"

7/11/2023 Harlem

New York City, United States

"City-wide Guerrilla Gardening"

4/11/2023 West Side Community Garden

New York City, United States

"Stories of a Different Time"

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