LAAVU IS A DETROIT-BASED ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN PRACTICE, ROOTED IN CITY-BUILDING. We believe the quality of life for people is grounded in building culturally based neighborhoods with strong identities, respect for the past, and innovative ideas for the future, all through a framework of quality design.
Laavu is an architectural design practice with global influences that grew out of the localized resourcefulness and community driven energy of Detroit. We have shared in the challenges of uplifting the city through all scales of its built environment, while learning to embrace its history. Our work respects the rich culture emerging from Detroit’s struggle, where we learn to lean on our neighbors, foster collaborations, interrogate burdensome regulations and strive to create a more livable city through our work.
At Laavu, we don’t wait for change to happen. We have developed a nimble design approach that initiates change by responding to the city’s challenges with meaningful architecture, innovative urban concepts and cultural relevance. We confront the existing design and regulatory processes with intuitive solutions that are as functional as they are aesthetically satisfying.
Laavu has improved neighborhoods by developing robust yet sensitive design principles that allow us to adeptly navigate the assorted, and sometimes disparate assumptions held by the City, developers, clients and user groups. Our best results emerge by facilitating communication between agencies to open up honest and collaborative conversations that move beyond written ordinances and traditional practices. These Detroit beginnings have established a rigorous design process that is inclusive, equitable and applicable to all urban conditions.
The future of Detroit, and all cities, lies in an exciting mix of community organizers, entrepreneurs, corporate investors, housing developers, hipsters and holdouts. Our team creates relationships between these groups by building cultural and economic connections back to the neighborhoods. We believe that the city is a physical manifestation of human activities, and our aim is to provide spaces that inform, inspire and enliven the citizens who use them.
We provide full-service pre-development, architecture, interior architecture services.
PRE-DEVELOPMENT: we assist developers/building owners in creating strategic framework plans to develop sustainable, city-building projects.
ARCHITECTURE : we guide owners through the design process, providing thoughtful, quality designs, making effective, memorable and unique places for people.
INTERIOR ARCHITECTURE : we design interior spaces, elements, flow and objects, envisioning the end-user experience
WHO WE ARE:
KAIJA WUOLLET Founding Principal / CEO
Kaija’s city-forward approach with an emphasis on careful craftsmanship and thoughtful design, strives to improve everyday life. At Laavu, Kaija draws out her team’s unique abilities as contributors on each project through effective communication and an adherence to rigorous design principles. She has vast experience in leading teams of various strengths and abilities on projects at multiple scales, while orchestrating all consultant work in a cohesive design and construction process.
Kaija is also closely connected to the entrepreneurial energy in Detroit - as a co-founder and Board Member of Ponyride, serving on the Board of Directors of the Corktown Business Association and by establishing various strategic partnerships with entrepreneurs and developers. The nurturing of these relationships have allowed Kaija to realize Laavu’s city-building mission at multiple scales, with high quality design that ranges from furniture, to buildings, to neighborhoods.
NOAH RESNICK Principal / RA
Noah’s 15+ years of research in the area of urban theory and history -initially as a graduate student at MIT, and now as the director of the graduate architecture program at the University of Detroit Mercy - parallels the central themes at the root of these Detroit based projects, and directly informs his professional design practice.
This research currently focuses on development along disinvested commercial and transit corridors and the role of establishing a positive urban identity to secure a successful public realm. On the architectural scale, Noah has extensive experience on the job site, leading construction administration for projects in New York City and Detroit.
TEAM : 2011- CURRENT
Dorota Kalamucka | Rachel Mulder | Nicholas Davis-Piotrowski | Evan Broske | Austin Kronig | Eiji Jimbo | Ana De Araujo | Anthony Morin | Matt Lucraft | Josh Budiongan | Alice Chai | Ethan Sims | Hannah Shaw | Hannah Hunt Moeller | Alex O'Dell | Justin Mast | Kyle Hoff | Brittany Trapp | Jean-Philippe Monéton
WHAT IS A LAAVU?
Laavu is a traditional, ethnic lean-to shelter intended for temporary residence during hiking trips in the wilderness. In Finland they are found throughout Lapland, near national parks and fishing spots, and are free to use by visitors. In our design work, we find deep inspiration in the natural environment. As in the Finnish tradition, wilderness can provide the most intimate and enriching human experience.
Photos by EE BERGER
FABULOUS: We seek to be somewhere in the space between the mythical and the incredible.
EXPERIMENT: We love to test ideas- to verify, refute or establish concepts. Logical thoughtful solutions to theoretical concepts.
DELIGHT: We have fun, we make things that are fun. But we also strive to create spaces that provide everyday solace and relief in today's busy world.
Architecture is not simply building design; it is the art of creating spaces, making places. Aberrations is dedicated to providing design, architectural and business development services to entrepreneurs in an effort to ameliorate the urban condition.
As an urbanist, Kaija E Wuollet [Managing Director] is interested in sense-making rather than problem solving. Particularly, in Detroit, the urban barn-raising perspective of building businesses through community support has shaped the current approach to architectural design.