Interview with Finnish Architect Anni Laurila

Anni Laurila is a Finnish architect and urban designer that has recently been awarded the title of First Runner-up of the EFCA’s Future Leaders Competition. This Award is given to exceptional young professionals in the engineering consultancy sector every year. Being a young female professional in architecture and design, she conducted two interviews regarding the changing field of architecture, her views on developments towards sustainable urban design as well as the role of Women in the building sector.

The first interview aims to give general insights on her career as an Architect as she discusses what inspires her, presents recent challenges for Women in Architecture and expands on the role of sustainability in her project implementations.

One of the discussion points revolves around the disproportionate disparity between women and men in leading positions and university classrooms of architecture institutions. This part of the interview touches on the Country Situation Reports in the YesWePlan Compendium 4 in 1, which concludes that, though a higher percentage of graduates of architecture are female, leading positions in companies are still largely carried out by men. Anni Laurila introduces similar findings for Finland, expanding this research to other parts of Europe. The same can be said for her critique of the social and cultural responsibilities Women Architects carry, in particular childcaring and household work, which makes it hard for many Women in Architecture to find a sufficient work-life balance. These working conditions are also presented in the YesWePlan! Recommendations for employers and the professional chambers and organisations. These structural inequalities may be reduced through active awareness-raising to the disparity as well as more flexible working conditions for both men and women, which would allow more levelled working environments for all genders.

The second interview focuses on her award-winning Lielahti master plan, which transforms a part of the City of Tampere, Finland, into a more sustainable and liveable city step-by-step until 2040. She presents the project’s goals and its realisation in detail, particularly emphasising the role of sustainability, inclusivity and accessibility of the project. She acknowledges that architecture and design competitions can greatly demonstrate the diversity of the building sector and stresses that more Women should take part in these competitions on a larger basis.

The EFCA Future Leaders Competition is being held in 2023, it is still possible to apply until the end of March. Find out more here.

Access the full interviews through this webpage, links to the interviews themselves can be found below.