BALTIC WAY MEMORIAL
Riga, Latvia, Competition, 2015
Our proposal for the Baltic Way Memorial employs a process of translation, through which human events are transferred into an architectural context to become the model through which the form of the building can be developed. The human chain connecting the three Baltic capitals - Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius - becomes the event which, together with the emblematic position of the Vitruvian Man drawn by Leonardo da Vinci, comes to be the formative principle of the Memorial.
The project does not want to be an answer to a specific question. Answers create closures and they are always provisional. The response to the brief is, rather, an opportunity to create a space in which one can attempt to find answers. If one wants to.
Three-dimensional building blocks are developed in three different sizes to stand for each one of the Baltic States. The components are configured like stylized human figures, their arms stretched in preparation to form an unbroken bond.
Once assembled in continuity, the resulting arrangement resembles a chain of infinite length and suggests a lattice-like structure generating the envelope of the Memorial space, a buffer capable of minimising the noise of the urban environment and facilitate a reflective attitude and evoke an emotional response in the visitors.
The space is conceived as open and public, susceptible to the weather and partially recessed into the ground with gentle ramped access at either end. A transparent glass box is contained within to house the Café, Souvenir shop and the exhibition, with service facilities in the middle.
The space between the lattice skin and the glass box is intended for public use, as a spill-out space for the Café and exhibition space, suitable for small gatherings and events, for family and friends to congregate and visitors to restore themselves. It is a covered urban promenade that expands the public domain of the city