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  3. Venice Biennale 2014: NRJA to Establish First-Ever Database of Latvian Post-War Modernist Architecture

Venice Biennale 2014: NRJA to Establish First-Ever Database of Latvian Post-War Modernist Architecture

Venice Biennale 2014: NRJA to Establish First-Ever Database of Latvian Post-War Modernist Architecture
Venice Biennale 2014: NRJA to Establish First-Ever Database of Latvian Post-War Modernist Architecture, Restaurant “Sēnīte” (1967); Vidzeme highway 37.km / Linards Skuja, Andris Bite, G. Grīnbergs, R. Ozoliņš - Courtesy of The Museum of Architecture of Latvia
Restaurant “Sēnīte” (1967); Vidzeme highway 37.km / Linards Skuja, Andris Bite, G. Grīnbergs, R. Ozoliņš - Courtesy of The Museum of Architecture of Latvia

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. 

Type project for gas station (1965); Daugavpils 74, Ogre © Zigmārs Jauja, NRJA
Type project for gas station (1965); Daugavpils 74, Ogre © Zigmārs Jauja, NRJA

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

Unwritten - exposition of Latvia in Arsenale as an analog representation of virtual information collection in real time and space. Over 2000 pages suspended in a frame fastened to existing beams, creating a sense of an information cloud that is moving in response to airflow. © NRJA
Unwritten - exposition of Latvia in Arsenale as an analog representation of virtual information collection in real time and space. Over 2000 pages suspended in a frame fastened to existing beams, creating a sense of an information cloud that is moving in response to airflow. © NRJA

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About this author
Karissa Rosenfield
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Cite: Karissa Rosenfield. "Venice Biennale 2014: NRJA to Establish First-Ever Database of Latvian Post-War Modernist Architecture" 15 May 2014. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/507062/venice-biennale-2014-nrja-to-establish-first-ever-database-of-latvian-post-war-modernist-architecture/> ISSN 0719-8884