The architects of NRJA have been chosen to curate Latvia’s participation at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale. Based on the assertion that “there is (no) modernism in Latvia,” the pavilion’s exhibition Unwritten will confront the lack of research and evaluation of Latvian post-war modernist architecture.
As the curators describe, the insufficient acknowledgment of Latvian post-war modernist architecture is the result of a tricky situation. On one hand, “there is an aversion to anything that occurred during the period of Soviet occupation,” while on the other “there is wave of uncritical nostalgia for the country’s youth and childhood, as well as the superficial hipster joy at the exotic Soviet heritage.”
Though many of these structures would have already achieved “monument” status in other countries, there has been no evaluation of their importance to Latvia’s architectural heritage. At the threat of demolition, these post-war buildings risk never being researched, leaving a period of Latvia’s architectural history unrecorded.
Thus the curators of Unwritten plan to highlight the modernism in Latvia and spark a global discussion that will hopefully result in the largest-ever database for post-war Latvian modernist architecture.
Join the discussion, here.