Cardiff University architecture graduates praised for globally-minded social enterprise

A group of Cardiff University architecture graduates are being praised for their globally-minded social enterprise, having built a new kindergarten and community hall on Vanua Levu Island, Fiji.

Working with charities, NGOs and schools worldwide, CAUKIN Studio is a collaborative of students from Cardiff University’s Welsh School of Architecture. Their work has received the backing of Polaris Music Prize winner Caribou and Merge Records.

CAUKIN fundraise, design and build projects for communities in need of new spaces. They have just completed two projects in Fiji. The Naweni Kindergarten serves a number of villages and settlements that previously had no dedicated space for children to learn. A community hall for the people of Vivili Village replaces a building destroyed in the wake of Cyclone Winston in 2016.

Andrzej Bak, a Director at CAUKIN, said:

“At CAUKIN Studio we drive and inspire community design around the world, delivering innovative built projects. We’re motivated to work closely with the community in which we are building and thrive off the input of the people surrounding us, whilst at the same time providing students and young professionals with the opportunity to design, build and travel.”

Their first project, PLAYSCAPE, is a creative play and learning space for a charity on Koh Rong Island, Cambodia. It was funded via a successful Kickstarter campaign and gained the support of Canadian musician Dan Snaith, better known as Caribou. Merge Records and Caribou donated the colourful flying creature featured in the music video for ‘Can’t Do Without You’.

Caribou said:

“As tourist infrastructure has encroached on more and more space on the island, there is no place for the school-aged children on the island to play. The playground, sitting next to the school set up by Friends of Koh Rong, provides an area for the children to play and be safe. The creature provides a centrepiece for the playground.”

Their next two projects, PLAYDIUM and PLAYVILION, saw a team of over 30 Welsh School of Architecture and Sheffield School of Architecture volunteers build two playgrounds in Indonesia.

CAUKIN was started by a group of friends, all interested in humanitarianism, when they decided they wanted to apply their practical skills to real-world projects. The name reflects the international make-up: Alden Ching (Canada), Andrzej Bak, Samantha Litherland, Harry Marshall, Josh Peasley and Harry Thorpe (UK), and Clarissa Budiono (Indonesia) together make ‘CAUKIN’.

Julia Roberts, Architect and Partner at internationally-renowned practice Hawkins\Brown, said:

“CAUKIN is a great initiative. It’s really inspiring to see young architects embracing their social responsibilities.”

The team all hope to qualify as Part III Architects, practicing as CAUKIN Studio full-time in the UK and abroad.

CAUKIN recently won the People’s Choice at the Santander Entrepreneurship Awards 2017. Pitching in London to Nathan Bostock, Chief Executive Officer of Santander UK, the group were recognised for using fun, creative, and innovative designs for communities in need.