CAUKIN
Socially engaged practice
New York, USA; Warwickshire, UK; and Jakarta, ID

CAUKIN Studio is an organisation based in New York, Warwickshire (UK) and Jakarta. Founded in 2015 on the premise that everybody should have access to better designed and built spaces, CAUKIN has worked on more than 25 design and construction projects worldwide, involving and educating over 500 international participants and local people through the process of these projects.

 

Towards social impact

CAUKIN was founded in 2015 during our second year of studying architecture at university. We wanted to put our (then limited) design skills to a practical use, that would have a positive impact on society. Our first project was in Cambodia where we designed and built a playground and worked with the local community to gain valuable construction knowledge. We found the knowledge exchange and cultural experience so valuable that we had to do more! Since then we have gone on to complete 19 socially-impactful projects of varying shapes, sizes and scales across the world!

 

Travel mayhem

Probably one of the worst mistakes we managed to make was mis-calculating the time we would be in Indonesia and need our visas for (by 1 day). To avoid deportation we had to visa hop, resulting in two of us flying to Singapore for a day and two flying to Australia for 5 hours before getting straight back on the plane. The best part was that we didn’t have Australian visas either, so spent the 5 hours in the airport applying for these too! We managed to squeeze in a sandwich in Darwin before heading back to Indonesia for dinner. 

 

Maintaining a healthy balance

Being a small and dynamic practice means that our day-to-day changes all the time. As a design and build practice, we deliver every aspect of a project, from brief making, design, quantity surveying, project management, construction and impact evaluation, so time in the office is really varied. With us all sharing a love for getting our hands dirty on site with construction, it is always a welcome break from days in the office. Being strict with our work-life balance is important. We always try our best to maintain this, but sometimes it is difficult when an exciting project comes through the door.

 

Collecting souvenirs from around the world

Over the years, we have been fortunate enough to work in some incredible places, gaining insight into the lives of so many people around the world. Prolonged periods living with a local family on project leads to some interesting souvenirs that now fill our studio (aka living room). We have more handmade mats than we can count, including a special 3m long ‘red mat’ from Vanuatu, traditionally used as a ritual exchange item during ceremonies. Some other items include a ‘Kava Tanoa’ (south pacific drink serving bowl), tribal staff’s, 14” bush knife, Fijian war club and a Ni-Vanuatu Nalot table.

 

A portfolio of impactful projects

Given that we started our exploration into the world of architecture from such an early point in our education, we didn't have many preconceived ideas about where it would go or what it would entail. After working in ‘conventional’ practice as part of our year out (running CAUKIN simultaneously), we realised that taking the typical path into practice was something that we weren’t particularly interested in. Through recognising and following our passions and interests, we are developing CAUKIN into the practice we want it to become, ensuring that we thread impact into every project, no matter how large or small.

 

Project versatility and further research

We’ve definitely run into our fair share of challenges over the last 5 years, which comes hand in hand with any start-up. Our naivety definitely played in our favour, removing the fear of the numerous obstacles to come and the doubt of knowing what could potentially go wrong. Most of what we know now, came from learning on the job as different challenges arose and getting advice from critical friends, which really highlights the benefits of collaboration. We’re now applying our experience and creative ambitions to art installations, large scale projects, public engagement work, and international and local research topics. 

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Whole Team Photo 1 Joshua Peasley

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Photography Courtesy of CAUKIN






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