There are two major problems in cities, social and environmental. The first one is that we live in shoe boxes, ever more lonely and isolated from political discussion. The second one is that we build and build and with it many buildings become unavoidably empty (Finland is nr1 in Europe in demolishing buildings). This shows how badly we are planning our cities and misusing our natural resources respectively.
As a trained Architect and Civil Engineer, I know well the limitations of my fields but also the potentials. To divide spaces is nothing more than to divide tasks. Why shouldn't we be more focused on the tasks? I propose to take these empty buildings and apply the following method:
- Renovation of abandoned buildings with the lowest impact possible
- Apply modular design solutions such as movable bedrooms
- Apply the concept of 50/50 cohousing and coworking
- Gamify its facility management
To proof such a concept, I am applying it in an abandoned school near Helsinki as a pilot project, the Hyrsylän Koulu. I believe these measures will allow what our cities and buildings should be offering: FLEXIBILITY. Not merely spatially but mainly socially. This is where the gamification part comes in. Having large shared spaces to allow a mix of living and working spaces will integrate local communities and engage LOCAL people to maximize its resources in a fun and rewarding way.
This project I am calling it GAMIFIED COHOUSING. Currently it is being tested under a startup accelerator program of the Helsinki Think Company.
I heard about this startup accelerator Mutiny after attending a discussion on the responsibility of intellectuals towards the Israeli Apartheid regime, which was held just beside its workspace at Tiedekulma. I decided then out of curiosity, to send one of my business ideas to the Helsinki Think Company, the gamified cohousing. I have attended before some hackathons and I have also organized one with the city of Espoo three years ago. I always found myself to be an outsider among the Steve Jobs’ worshipers in the room.
Mutiny has been a surprising refreshing take. Specially now, after having pitched at the Ultrahack , Mutiny’s team has managed to find a good balance in offering a far better service than all other startup driven events that I have been to. It might lie solely on my commitment to my project but I am watering the suspicion that it lies too on the passion of its team and the quality of the speakers and judges brought to us. Also, it delivers the promises that its great branding videos makes us hope for: it follows the schedule, it is structured, has the needed infrastructure and the team is experienced.
I tend to be involved in overly complex topics, as my doctoral research on “Architectural Democracy” well indicates. Gamified Cohousing follows the same path; I see no easy solution in life. There is no 3 steps wonder app that solves societal problems (just 4, like ours!). Mutiny has thus been a humbling experience to turn my overly saturated exposés into passionate but accurate narratives that scratch people’s hearts and reason. My world turned into three minutes pitches, a proposed solution, when you know you are part of the problem!
I have been living in Helsinki for almost 4 years, a rational choice in search to be living amongst honest people. After two masters in Civil Engineering and Architecture, I have built over 50 buildings in 18 countries. I know well the intertwining of business and politics and that there is no easy solution to the problems it is causing. I keep on trying, either through academia, business, arts and politics to solve these problems. Its human nature, inescapable, this search for perfection is what makes me stand up every morning but it is also our nemesis, it’s a game with no end. Luckily we don’t all rise in mutiny, attempting to overthrow a captainless ship!
Article by: Pedro Aibéo
Pedro Aibéo is a Design Architect and Civil Engineer with over 50 buildings designed and built worldwide, currently practicing at AIBEO architecture. He is a Kone FoundationResearch Fellow at Aalto University for the Doctoral Research of “Architectural Democracy” and a Visiting Associate Professor at UNAM University, Mexico. His research and practice interests are multidisciplinary spanning from arts, science, design and politics