Success stories

Arkki, the Finnish architecture education concept for children and youth, enters South East Asia starting from Vietnam


Arkki International’s press release 6.6.2018

Arkki International Ltd. is starting to pilot its award-winning education concept in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. In June 4th, Arkki started a series of 11 one-week pilot courses on Participatory Urban Design in collaboration with Unicef Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City Department of Planning and Architecture and Saigon Innovation Hub, a government-back agency under the Department of Science and Technology of Ho Chi Minh City with the mission to establish Ho Chi Minh City into a startup and innovation hub of South East Asia. This participatory design pilot is a part of Unicef’s global ‘Child Friendly City’ Initiative.

In each course, groups of children and youth between ages 8-14 will learn about urban design process and share their ideas of a child friendly city, working on a bespoke area of Ho Chi Minh Cty, Thu Thiem. The elder children will use 3D Augmented Reality in their design project. The results will be exhibited during Saigon Innovation Week, October 15-20.

The collaboration between Arkki International Ltd. and its Vietnamese partner Viet Motion Ltd. started in November 2017 when a delegation from Vietnam visited a Finnish start-up event Slush to scan through interesting companies in the areas of innovation, smart city and education. Among other things, the delegation visited the Arkki School of Architecture for Children and Youth in Helsinki. After witnessing a class of Arkki pupils, an on-going exhibition of projects made by children of ages 4 to 19, and hearing about the Arkki philosophy from the Co-founder and CEO of Arkki International Pihla Meskanen, the spontaneous comment by the delegation was: ‘we’ve seen a lot, but for sure we’ve never seen anything like this’.

The Ho Chi Minh pilot is the first step in Arkki’s market entry to South East Asia. According to a licensing agreement signed in May between Arkki International and Viet Motion, during the coming years the co-operation will be expanded to the whole of Vietnam and the 9 other ASEAN countries: Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Myanmar, Lao PRD, Cambodia and Brunei. Also in terms of education content the collaboration will expand to cover the whole Arkki concept and courses for all age groups of 4-19 years.

Phi Van Nguyen, the CEO and Chairman of Viet Motion, comments: ‘With its unique pedagogical approach, Arkki empowers children with the most essential 21st century skills – like creativity, complex problem solving and critical thinking. Arkki education prepares them to walk confidently into the future, which by and large is unknown. Innovation requires much more than just mechanical learning of individual subjects, and Arkki is all about experimenting, combining knowledge of different disciplines, and learning the process to create something unique.’ Van Nguyen continues: ‘Being approved by the Finnish Ministery of Education and Culture as an extracurricular education, and being part of the world famous overall national curriculum of Finland, also proofs the merits of this pioneering concept’.

Pihla Meskanen comments: ‘This collaboration is such an exciting milestone for Arkki International. We are overwhelmed with the enthusiasm of our Vietnamese partners and the positive feedback from the demo sessions with the local children. Realising how Arkki education can contribute to the development of these dynamic, fast progressing countries, brings a whole new meaning to our work: it’s not only about architecture and design, but supporting children and youth to become active citizens who have the interest and skills to influence their environment for the better.’


For more information:
Pihla Meskanen | CEO of Arkki International Ltd. / 050 517 4602

Picture: Arkki International Ltd.


Arkki International Ltd.
The Arkki School of Architecture for Children and Youth is the leading institution in architectural education for children and youth in the world, founded in Finland in 1993. Arkki education empowers children and youth with innovation skills, holistically intertwining the cognitive, behavioural, functional and technical aspects. The objective is to support children and youth to become innovative influencers of the future through architecture education – whatever their chosen vocation may be. Architecture combines arts and diverse sciences and hence architecture education supports inter-disciplinary learning of different phenomenons. In Finland Arkki belongs to the network of art education institutes that have been certified by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture to offer school children extracurricular visual art education. Arkki International Ltd. is the company licensing the Arkki education concept globally. So far Arkki Schools are located in 12 cities in Finland, Greece, Cyprus and Czech Republic. Arkki is an official member of a national education export program Education Finland program, offering Finnish educational know-how and learning solutions globally, and the pilot is supported by Finnpartnership.

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