LAAVU is a multi-disciplinary Detroit-based architecture and urban design practice, rooted in city-building.
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 existing physical and regulatory challenges 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.
Although we have global influences, we grew out of the localized resourcefulness and community driven energy of Detroit.These local roots 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 residents, 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.
WHO WE ARE:
KAIJA WUOLLET Founder, Chief Design Officer
Kaija founded Laavu, in 2011 with vision rooted in city-building, consisting of creative, multi-disciplinary collaborations- through a framework of quality of design.
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
Noah joined Laavu in 2016.
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.
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
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