The Latvian Association of Architects has an archive of the projects that have been applied for the Latvian Architecture Award in the last 20 years. A revision of this collection has resulted in an overview of the recent history of architecture and urban planning in Latvia, both by capturing the zeitgeist of the early 21st century, as well as highlighting timeless projects that are more than just products of their era.
The architecture of the recent past is in an awkward transitory state – already outdated and behind contemporary aesthetics, but not old enough to qualify as historical heritage, it is always at risk of being unloved, misunderstood and underappreciated. Taste cycles dictate attitudes toward products of the recent past not only in fashion, but other forms of art as well. Both professionals and non-specialists tend to react negatively to the most popular typeface of the advertising newspaper «Rīgas Santīms» graphic design just out of fashion or newly outdated architecture.
This, of course, has more to do with our prejudice than objective reality. We are taught to respect historical architecture, but finding value in the buildings we’ve seen built is a challenge. The progress we’ve experienced seems self-evident, and the insights we come to ourselves – trivial. But rare gems can be found in outdated collections, too.
This exhibition is an invitation to revise that automatic and powerful belief that the architecture of the recent past is awkward or worthless, and to imagine what it would be like to look at it 50 years from now, when newly obsolete buildings will be unbearable in some other, yet unpredictable way.
Authors: Ivars Veinbergs, Elīna Lībiete, Linda Leitāne