The six members met through their shared love of architecture and humanitarianism whilst studying at Cardiff University in 2015. The enterprise name came from the origins of its founders; Alden (Canada), Josh, Harry and Harry (UK) and Clarissa (Indonesia) together make ‘CAUKIN’.
Whilst already good friends at university, the group decided they wanted to test out and apply their skills to real world projects, which they obtain themselves through contacting various charities, NGO’s and schools worldwide. Co-founder Joshua Peasley said; “We realised that as architecture students, there is so much to be learnt from on-site construction, so we set up CAUKIN to give other students and young professionals the opportunity to access this practice”.
Their first project, PLAYSCAPE, a creative play and learning space, was designed and built for a charity on the island of Koh Rong, off the coast of Cambodia. They funded the project via a successful kickstarter campaign which raised over £7,700 and managed to gain the support of the music artist Caribou, as well as his music label through winning a competition entry.
Their next two projects PLAYDIUM and PLAYVILION, both located in Indonesia, took a team of over 30 Welsh School of Architecture and Sheffield School of Architecture volunteers to build the two playgrounds. Co-founder Harry Thorpe said “it was a natural progression from self-funding the projects to inviting volunteers to come and build with us, this really marked the start of our enterprise, having tested our ideas with PLAYSCAPE the year before”.
This year they will be completing their two most substantial projects to date; a Nursing Station/Kindergarten and a Community Hall on the island of Vanua Levu in Fiji. They welcome a team of 40 volunteers from numerous universities worldwide, and hope to complete the projects over a 2 month period in August and September.
Whilst studying for their first year of their masters in Architecture this year, they have managed to win Cardiff Universities ‘SPARK Enterprise’ competition, a business competition which encourages new startups to push their business ideas and aspirations further. Off the back of their success at the SPARK competition, they were entered into the nationwide ‘Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards’ where they won ‘The People’s Choice Award’, placing them in the top 18 start-ups, from the 2000 applicants. They will be pitching their business to the CEO of Santander in October in the finals.
Co-founder Harry Marshall said “it is off the back of some great teaching and a solid skills set that we have obtained through studying Architecture at the Welsh School of Architecture, that has made the start-up and continued operation of CAUKIN a success. Studying at Cardiff has given us so many opportunities to develop ourselves as architects and our business as a whole!”
The team hope to go all go on to qualify as Part III Architects, and wish to practice as CAUKIN Studio full time, working both in the UK and overseas.