Ākau is a design and architecture studio with a social conscience. Its unique vision is to weave together youth creativity, community strengths and design in order to develop innovative solutions to the challenges facing communities today.
The ‘why’ behind its vision is simple: all over New Zealand, communities struggle with unemployment and lack of economic growth.
The project is one of a kind in that it focuses on developing skills in the architecture sector and is currently offering youth the chance to gain high-end hands-on design experience, develop leadership skills and discover their passions, for free.
Ākau’s mission is to empower youth to achieve their full potential and create in their own communities by engaging them in the design of real projects. The organisation hosts six-month workshops that are free for 16-24 year olds. The participants gain experience on real life architectural projects and the opportunity to learn how to develop their own enterprise within their community.
The fresh approach from Ākau focuses on at risk youths that may have dropped out of school or be involved with the youth justice system. Ākau provides opportunities for young people to have a second chance through teaching valuable skills that will increase their chances of employment.
Ākau is a finalist in the 2015 NZI Sustainable Business Network Awards in the EcoPro Cleaning Co Community Innovation Award.