37. Jānis Krastiņš, professor. Latvian Architecture – the Pride of Latvia.

Since time immemorial, houses have been built in Latvia with their architectural quality often rivaling that of the world renowned masterpieces of architecture. People from all over the world come to admire Riga. There is a lot to see, especially in the historic centre of the city which in 1997 was inscribed on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List. Its largest value is the unique Art Nouveau architecture created in the early 20th century when a new generation of architects began working in Riga. The young architects acquired their professional education at Riga Polytechnic Institute where the school of architecture was opened in 1869. It is not an exaggeration to say that Riga was built by the Latvians.

The same school of architecture in Riga, which today is the Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning at Riga Technical University, maintains the traditions of architectural education that have been established more than 140 years ago. The majority of architects practicing in Riga and in other cities of Latvia are the graduates of the local university. That is why the school bears great responsibility for the processes going on in Latvian architecture.

The real high-quality architecture does not attract attention with its unusual and vainglorious image or originality created for the sake of originality, but with a proper artistic composition that perfectly fits in the urban context, creating a harmonious balance and clearly perceivable references to the surrounding environment. Over the last few years several such regard-deserving buildings have indeed been built.

 

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