PhD University teacher Åkerfelt Mia ja työryhmä (HoPE)

375700 €

Housing, Prefabrication and Export – the architecture of reconstruction in times of crises

Tieteellinen tutkimus / siihen pohjautuva työ | Nelivuotinen

The HoPE-project examines the role of prefabricated housing architecture in the aftermath of crises, through the case of Finnish company Puutalo Oy’s housing export to Poland and Israel between 1940 and 1980, developing data for future crisis reconstruction based on the historical information. In the last decades, wars, mass-migration and natural disasters has brought the issue of housing research to the forefront as an architectural challenge, turning the focus towards the development of sustainable temporary housing in crisis areas. In this context, the global export of Puutalo houses provide a unique opportunity to interdisciplinarily study mechanisms of housing fabrication, export and construction, as well as of adaptation and appropriation by inhabitants within the context of reconstruction, spanning a period of up to 70 years. The aim is to examine which mechanisms in the design, fabrication, placement and use of the Puutalo houses contributed to the development of the buildings from temporary housing to homes. Main research questions explore what the history of the houses in different locations were, how they were adapted to changing local needs, which traits in and around the buildings contributed to coping with reconstruction, and how these experiences can be translated into today’s practices on reconstruction housing. HoPE breaks new ground in architectural research by applying a novel combination of qualitative and quantitative methodologies when approaching the role of architecture in coping with crises. By pairing methods from architectural history and landscape design, GIS-mapping and citizen science with theories on identity, nationality and cultural heritage, the project develops new solutions for handling large materials on a global scale. The project results in data that can be used when creating sustainable crisis housing in today’s reconstruction areas, communicating the communities’ experiences from making shelters into homes.