|RTU International Summer School 2011 «Entering the Void»|
RTU International Summer School 2011 «Entering the Void» August 7-20, 2011 Rīga, Liepāja
Liepāja, known in Latvia as «the city where the wind is born», is located in Western Latvia at the Baltic Sea. In the context of the Baltic coastline cities, Liepaja has always been a strategic locus, a city where significant amount of infrastructure has been designed for military and industrial purposes. At the present moment, while most of the European cities are dealing with growing populations and sprawling suburban settlements, Liepaja, on the contrary, has turned into a shrinking city generating void spaces that call for re-definition of their function.
History of Liepaja dates more than 750 years back when the Baltic coastline was a trade route and hosted Viking settlements. In 17th century Liepaja was granted city rights. This was the start of a rapid urban growth and prosperity, as the city became one of the main ports of the Baltic Sea for almost three centuries. 20th century was the period when most of the important industrial and military heritage was constructed. During the Soviet occupation, Liepaja was a strategic point of Soviet military force and became anarea of restricted access. After the re-establishment of independence of Latvia in 1990, the Soviet army left, leaving an abandoned military base and residential area behind. Liepaja was now fully open, yet there was not enough urban substance to fill it with liveliness.
Today the city operates within a context of fusion, trying to integrate neglected post industrial and military areas, historically rich urban fabric and natural heritage of the Baltic coastline. Adaptation to the new urban situation demandsnew forms of development, and people of Liepāja are enthusiastic to shape the future of their city.
The Summer School Entering the Void was aimed at re-capturing the concept of void spaces – to reveal the hidden potential within the existing pattern and explore various strategies for future of Liepāja. Within this framework, the summer school examined and map the existing spatial structures, social energies and cultural typologies to create a new platform of attitudes, values and proposals towards dwelling in the contemporary Baltic coastline city with its contradictory background.
Final Presentations of Workshops
Riga Technical University
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