LAAVU IS A DETROIT-BASED ARCHITECTURAL 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.
WE EMPHASIZE QUALITY DESIGN. At Laavu, we guide our clients through the design process, providing thoughtful, quality solutions towards the making of effective, memorable and unique places for people, and the cities they live in. Our work includes master planning and architectural projects for mixed-use developments including; multi-family housing, commercial buildings, retail spaces, restaurants, public spaces, community centers, and a music venues.
WE HAVE STRONG DETROIT PARTNERSHIPS. The future of Detroit lays in an exciting mix of community organizers, entrepreneurs, corporate investors, housing developers, hipsters and holdouts. Laavu collaborates with a broad representation of stakeholders who are
leaders in development, planning, and policy-making decisions in Detroit. Additionally, we have worked with business owners, entrepreneurs, craftsman and developers, forming innovative partnerships that result in creative built spaces and master plans throughout the city of Detroit. We also work closely with the City of Detroit to ensure our projects can both align with current efforts of the Planning Department, and streamline the regulatory approval process, adeptly navigating the assorted, and sometimes disparate agencies within City Hall.
WE UNDERSTAND THE CITY & COMMUNITY. Detroit’s urban fabric stretches itself, taut over a city and its suburbs. The seams holding it together are the former commercial corridors with supporting neighbourhoods, serving as a sanctuary for nurturing small business, denser housing models, and nascent entrepreneurial opportunities.
Our work respects the rich culture emerging from Detroit’s struggle, while striving to create a more livable city. Laavu works on projects that improve the many commercial corridors with neighborhood scale developments across the city.
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 / Design + Strategy
Kaija founded Laavu in 2011, an architectural design practice rooted in city-building. Her city-forward approach with an emphasis on careful craftsmanship and thoughtful design, strives to improve everyday life. As a Finnish-American, she has a strong connection to nature and craft, shaping her fascination in architectural design at all scales, from overall concept to the design details.
Growing up in Minneapolis, and as an urbanist and entrepreneur at heart, Kaija has a deep interest in sustainable growth in cities, always searching to understand how people interact in spaces at a range of scales. Sustainable business models paired with quality design serves as the foundation for each project. Kaija completed her Master of Architecture at University of Detroit Mercy in 2010.
NOAH RESNICK Principal / Technical Design + Strategy, RA
Noah joined Laavu as a partner in 2015. He operates under the interrelated concepts of the architectonics of multiple scales; the architect as urban collaborator; and the architect as community builder. Noah is a full-time Associate Professor at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture and has been the Director of the Master of Architecture Program since 2011.
Noah earned his BArch from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago and completed his Masters of Science in Architecture Studies (SMarchS) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Architecture + Urbanism stream. In addition to Detroit, Noah has lived and practiced in Chicago, Boston, and New York, as well as Berlin, Germany where he worked in the studio of Daniel Libeskind.
What is 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.
Contributors : 2011- current
Nicholas Davis-Piotrowski | Rachel Mulder | 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
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.