A major activity in Arkki is the art of hut building. That is building architectural constructions in 1:1 scale. There is an archaic need in all of us to build huts and shelters. Learning by doing in a human scale is always exiting to children of all ages.
Hut building camps initiate the children to the building traditions of different nations and cultures. So far over 3000 children have participated in the courses.
Hut Building Traditions
Man has always constructed shelters against the elements with materials each environment offers. Before the development of agriculture and the construction of permanent shelters, life meant moving from one place to an other, hunting and gathering, and later on, following and herding half wild or tame animals.The life style of the nomad required creative solutions for the building of dwellings i.e. huts. Due to the constant moving, the huts had to be easily assembled and disassembled, light to carry along or handy to construct all over again in a new resting spot. The construction material had to be found in nature and fullfill the requirements of the climate, and it had to be used according to the cultural traditions.
We can learn from ancient, as well as present day nomads the simple and practical construction methods that have been refined over thousands of years. In the hut building camps the children are introduced to the history of movable huts and natural materials as well as their uses . They also learn different structural systems, joining methods and knots, as well as dyeing with natural colours.
On these courses the children have been introduced to, among other things, the yurta that the Mongols use for dwelling, teepees used by the North American Indians, the tent used by the nomadic Bedouins of the Sahara desert, Mesopotamian reef hut, the Finnish "kota" hut etc.
The Finnish architectural tradition
For those who have participated in the hut building camp, Arkki offers advances camps, which introduce the building traditions of our own country. On these camps children have learned to build a traditional wood shingled roof, a traditional Finnish thatch roof and to cook red ochre paints, for example.
Arkki wants to offer the opportunity for children and youth to go into the past of our own culture and to get familiar with the ancient building traditions by experiencing it with hands on work.