Miia Mäkinen

Miia Mäkinen: Conceptual drawing on how to emphasize the effect of natural elements in architecture, 2016.

Architect Miia Mäkinen is FCINY’s artist-in-residence for the month of October. Mäkinen is a partner and one of the founders of LUO Architects, an architecture office with an emphasis on sustainable, ecological and energy-efficient design. She also works as a teacher and researcher at the University of Oulu, concentrating on the question of how architecture can reinforce and support the way we experience nature.

Mäkinen presupposes that today’s city dwellers, especially those living in metropolitan areas, have become estranged from nature, and that environment in its natural state can be found inaccessible, even frightening. At the same time the demand for nature tourism is ever growing and even short-term nature experiences are considered beneficial to both physical and mental health.

Developing further her previous spatial studies, Mäkinen’s ongoing PhD dissertation research concerns spatial experience in the context of nature-based tourism. Mäkinen sees her discipline as a powerful tool for increasing environmental consciousness and promoting eco-friendly values.

With connection to her academic research, Mäkinen is currently working on a project in cooperation with the Finnish Forest and Park Service. She is developing architectural concepts for a new national park, aiming at creating structures that form a close relationship with the surrounding nature and emphasize the effect of natural elements, such as water and wind. 

During her time in New York, Mäkinen will advance her research by studying the ways in which architecture can act as a mediator in between modern-day city-dwellers and the environment in its natural state. She is also interested in the ways in which nature can be experienced in the urban space of a metropolis.

Miia Mäkinen: Experiential Tourist Resort at Arctic Nature of Lapland, 2011. Diploma work, unrealized.