Typography
The Gala Ceremony was held at Tehran´s Milad TV-tower
The Gala Ceremony was held at Tehran´s Milad TV-tower

On 19 January 2016, Finnish environmental and architectural expertise will receive an award in Tehran. The international Energy Globe Award will be presented to the River Jukajoki restoration project in Eastern Finland and to the KOMITU architects’ project on the construction of a youth centre in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Waterway protection at the grassroots level Launched in North Karelia by the villages of Selkie and Alavi, Eastern Finland’s biggest waterway protection project, aimed at restoring the River Jukajoki, has been active for five years.

In 2010 and 2011, peat production by the company Vapo Oy caused deaths of fish in the river, after which the villages launched this new kind of waterway protection project.  This enabled fishermen, hunters and residents in the catchment area to participate in restoring their waterway.

“One of the project’s most significant innovations is the idea that the villagers’ traditional, local knowledge is just as important as science in detecting changes,” says River Jukajoki Project Leader Tero Mustonen, who will be present to accept the prize in Tehran.

Iran´s Vice President, H.E. Masoumeh Ebtekar, participated at the Award Ceremony
Iran´s Vice President, H.E. Masoumeh Ebtekar, participated at the Award Ceremony

The goal of the project, which to date has spent a total of EUR 2.7 million, is to restore and study the heavily damaged waterway. In 2012 a Ministry of the Environment representative proposed the innovations of the River Jukajoki project as a possible model for solving the Talvivaara Mine disaster.

The River Jukajoki project has also featured internationally in two American documentary films Jukajoki and Our Place on Earth, which were shot in the villages of Selkie and Alavi over a two-year period. The Jukajoki film will be premiered in March 2016.

In 2014 the project also received a special mention from the UN for best practices in waterway protection.

 

 

The Finnish winners, Noora Aaltonen, Elina Tenho and Tero Mustonen are enjoying the festive ceremony
The Finnish winners, Noora Aaltonen, Elina Tenho and Tero Mustonen are enjoying the festive ceremony

Youth centre from bamboo and earth bricks

The youth centre, designed and executed by the Finnish KOMITU architects opened in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in February 2014. Two Cambodian non-governmental organisations use the premises to teach English as well as information technology and vocational skills to children and young people. The organisations and young people using the building participated in its design and construction.

Bamboo and compressed earth bricks were used in the construction of the youth centre. Making earth bricks does not require energy at all. Bamboo, in turn, is a rapidly-renewable, carbon-binding local material. In addition, an experimental wall of plastic bottles filled with plastic waste was made for the building in response to the area’s waste problems. Educational events on ecological construction methods where held on the site for local students.

The KOMITU architects’ working group consiste of Noora AaltonenSisko Hovila,Tuuli KassiMaiju SuomiElina Tenho and Inari Virkkala. KOMITU acted in the project as the architect, developer and provider of financing. The project’s biggest providers of financing were the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Finnish Cultural Foundation and the Arts Promotion Centre Finland.

Mr. Tero Mustonen from Selkie village in Northern Karelia has received his Award
Mr. Tero Mustonen from Selkie village in Northern Karelia has received his Award

This is the third international award won by the project. Previously, the project has won 3rd prize in the International Architecture Awards 2015, and an honourable mention in the Re-thinking the Future Awards. KOMITU is part of the Nordic South of North network and the Finnish Ukumbi ry non-governmental organisation, which offers architectural services to disadvantaged groups.

The award will be accepted in Tehran by working group members Noora Aaltonen and Elina Tenho.

Distinguished guests at the Gala

The awards will be presented by the Austrian Energy Globe Foundation in Tehran on Tuesday, 19 January 2016. According to the foundation, the TV Gala will attract more than one billion viewers on 600 different TV channels around the world. It can also be followed on a live webcast at the address http://www.energyglobe.info.

The Energy Globe Foundation is a non-profit organisation whose goal is to spread awareness of sustainable practices and renewable forms of energy as well as to promote global dialogue among experts and politicians.

The Gala is being held this year in Iran, with the objective of supporting Iran’s environmental and civil society development. The awards ceremony is expected to be attended by Iran’s high political leaders, including President of Iran Hassan Rouhani. Minister Maneka Gandhi from India, recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize and other international people of note will also be present.

Noora Aaltonen and Elina Tenho of KOMITU-Architects, Helsinki
Noora Aaltonen and Elina Tenho of KOMITU-Architects, Helsinki

EMBASSY OF FINLAND, Tehran