Everyday Life in Microrayons

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the everyday life in microrayons

an architectural inquiry into the future of microrayons in former socialist states

Līga Ramata 150015990 Architectural Thesis AR50005 rooms+cities thesis advisor – Lorens Holm University of Dundee Dundee, 2021



Contents abstract 5 introduction 9 the rise of standardisation 11 microrayons: transforming the everyday life 23 the vision versus the reality: 27 microrayons as social condensers 27 east and west: 29 differences and similarities 29 the new soviet man in Riga 31 purvciems I: 33 the site in question 33 the present in the estates of tomorrow 39 homogeneity 49 lack of building types 63 lack of variety 73 reflection 85 bibliography 86 appendix: 89 Design project 89 Berlin: A Green Archipelago 107 Dundee: A Green Archipelago 113

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multifamily prefabricated housing in Riga Sasha Tsenkova (2006)

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abstract

The extraordinary architectural development in the Soviet Union is best explained through emotionally and politically charged U-turns with zero tolerance of opposing ways of thinking.1 For instance, Nikita Khrushchev’s speech at the All-Union Builders conference in 1954 marked the death of Stalinist Socialist realism (or Socialist Classicism) and gave rise to mass-produced standardised construction. Now the fully developed labour-intensive and excessive architecture of the Stalinist period was replaced with the functional Soviet Modernism – only the efficiency of modern architecture could solve the post-war housing crisis. While the Western contemporary architecture gave hope for a freer and fairer society with its openness and lightness, “soon a wave of dull panel construction indifferent to humanity and the environment, would wash over the whole country”2 forming so called microrayons – large Soviet housing districts comprised of identical units¬ forming identical quads that stretched as far as the eye could see. In 9 years 54 million people across the Soviet Union moved into thousands of featureless low cost and low quality residential blocks built all over the country which are still dominating the everyday lives of millions of people. Controlling not only the materials and designs, but also people’s social environment – all to form The New Soviet Man with a new world view and lifestyle. Many consider microrayons to be the successors of the Soviet Constructivist developed

social condensers, however, instead of fostering ‘communities of collective residence, work, and public culture, in which the alienation and privation of bourgeois life would be overcome’3 they exhibit stagnation and homogeneity. These housing estates still play a crucial role in structuring society, this is especially evident in Riga, Latvia where 70% of the population reside in one of the many microrayons scattered around the city. So how does The New Soviet Man fit into now independent post-Soviet countries 50 years later? This project attempts to transform the microrayons from bedroom districts into Soviet Constructivist’s Mosei Ginzburg’s imagined social condensers enriching and liberating its inhabitants and aiding their personal development while keeping in mind their individual needs. Lessons from ‘The City in The City. Berlin: A Green Archipelago’ by Oswald Mathias Ungers and Rem Koolhaas are implemented in hopes to combat the lack of identity and belonging. This project focuses on three distinct scales – reintegrating the microrayons into the city, introducing a central spatial element to define the courtyards within them and renovating the existing slabs by adding winter gardens and new entries – directly influenced by the approach of the ‘rooms + cities’ design unit. The format of this thesis will alternate between sections of text and visual argument.

Belogolovsky, Vladimir, 2014. Re-examining Soviet Modernism. In: NRJA Un-written, Riga: s.n., p. 65 Ibid., p. 74 3 Murawski, Michal, 2017. Revolution and the Social Condenser: How Soviet Architects Sought a Radical New Society. [Online] Available at: https://strelkamag.com/en/article/architecture-revolution-social-condenser 1 2

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the everyday life in Riga’s microrayons collage by author

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introduction

In recent years, the internet has been flooded with countless aesthetically pleasing photographs of concrete housing blocks and futuristic looking structures from the former USSR. Although the Western fascination with the everyday life in the Soviet Union is flourishing, the newly independent Baltic states have been working hard to consciously and subconsciously erase ‘the built reminders of their Soviet history’.4 Still sooner or later they will have to face the looming question of what to do with the remains of Soviet Modernist architecture, ignored until now due to the complex emotional reaction it provokes. From one side, it is a constant reminder of the injustices and mass struggles, on the other – childhood nostalgia.5 And while the wider society is willing to admit the artistic merits of individual buildings from this period, the most influential concept of Soviet Modernism – microrayons – often get overlooked. As historian Mārtiņš Mintaurs describes: “microrayons or microdistricts were concentrated areas of 3,000-5,000 inhabitants where the design provided easy access to educational and medical facilities, shops and other everyday necessities like hairdressers, shoemakers etc”.6 They are composed of standardised pre-fabricated panel blocks, ensuring that ‘the largest amount of citizens would have adequate living space – costs minimized’7 while at the same time serving as a new model of living imposing the socialist way of life on the occupied states.

More than 50 years later around 2/3 of the residents of now independent Latvia are still subjected to ‘the new socialist way of life’,8 which they associate with ‘inhumane architecture and unwelcoming public space’.9 Economist E. Roose describes microrayons as aerial architecture – geometric shapes impressive from above but unsatisfactory for on-the-ground living and suggested that involvement of the residents in the design process could lead to higher satisfaction.10 By revisiting the works of the Soviet Constructivist theory of social condensers and ‘The City in The City. Berlin: A Green Archipelago’ manifesto this project attempts to rethink the everyday life in Riga’s microrayons and tackle their dull and isolated nature, as well as examine the behaviour of its inhabitants to promote desirable activities and encourage reclamation of space and re-integration into the city. This is done by examining the issue on various scales as suggested by the design unit ‘rooms + cities’ – the scale of the city, the district, the microrayon itself, the slabs that comprise them and courtyards within with a focus on the needs and wants of its residents, who have been left in the background so far. While the microrayon of Purvciems is used as a case study, this project serves as a foundation for further studies on the function of the microrayon within the city and the reworking of the individual apartments within the slabs, which are beyond the scope of this study.

Reinvald, Jaanika, 2017. Democracy: Washing The Socialist Stains From Our Heritage. Delhi, s.n, p. 1 NRJA, 2014. Un-written, Riga: s.n., p. 20 6 Mintaurs, Mārtiņš, 2018. Housing the New Soviet Man. In: M. Groskaufmanis, E. Ozola & A. Skrējāne, eds. The Architecture of Together and Apart. Riga: New Theatre Institute of Latvia, p. 83 7 Ibid. 8 Matīss Groskaufmanis, 2018. The Architecture of Together and Apart. Riga: New Theatre Institute of Latvia. 9 Pille Metspalu, Daniel B. Hess, 2018. Revisiting the role of architects in planning largescale housing in the USSR: the birth of socialist residential districts in Tallinn, Estonia, 1957–1979. Planning Perspectives, 33(3), pp. 335-361., p. 337 10 Ibid. 4 5

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the rise of standardisation

While it is tempting to separate architecture from its historical context for simple enjoyment and appreciation, in doing so we lose an important informative counterpart and a link to the original architectural formation. This is particularly true for Soviet Modernism – ‘the thirty-year period of Soviet architecture between the time of Khrushchev’s “Thaw” (1955) and Gorbachev’s “perestroika” (1985)’.11 The previously favoured Stalinist Socialist Realism, its grandeur and décor elements borrowed from the great empires of the past, was abruptly cancelled. Even though a clear break with history is an important feature of modernism everywhere, nowhere has it been as abrupt and ubiquitous as in the USSR. In fact, it is possible to determine the exact date of the demise of Stalinist architecture and the rise of mass-produced standardised construction. On the 7th of December 1954 Nikita Khrushchev gave a speech at the All-Union Builders conference condemning the excessive and labour intensive Socialist Classicism.

It was clear that the post-war housing crisis could only be solved by modern architecture, however, unlike in the West, modernism here did not coexist with any other architectural styles, any deviation from the approved designs could result in a punishment. Everything, starting from materials, finishes, openings, and ending with square footages and even cubic volumes were controlled by special committees.13 Suddenly architects were no longer the master builders, now they were below constructors, losing any control over quality. From then the cost of a square meter of floor area became the primary concern. Although the Western architecture of the time embodied democracy in its openness, transparency and lightness, ‘soon a wave of dull panel construction indifferent to humanity and the environment,’14 would wash all over the USSR. Just in 9 years 54 million people or a quarter of the country’s population moved into individual apartments.15

“We must select a small number of standard designs for residential buildings, schools, hospitals, kindergartens, children’s nurseries, shops, and other buildings and structures and conduct our mass buildings programs using only these designs over the course of, say, five years. At the end of which period, we shall hold a discussion and, if no better designs turn up, continue in the same fashion for the next five years. What is wrong in this approach, comrades?” 12 Nikita Khrushchev, 1954

Belogolovsky, Vladimir, 2014. Re-examining Soviet Modernism. In: NRJA, ed. Un-written. Riga: s.n., p. 59 Khrushchev, Nikita, 1954. speech at the National Conference of Builders, Architects, Workers in the Construction Materials and Manufacture of Construction and Roads Machinery Industries, and Employees of Design and Research and Development Organisations. Moscow 13 Belogolovsky, Vladimir, 2014. Re-examining Soviet Modernism. In: NRJA, ed. Un-written. Riga: s.n., p. 62 14 Ibid., p. 74 15 NRJA, 2014. Un-written, Riga: s.n., p. 74 11

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Riga: figure ground plan Analytical studies of Riga and the formation of microrayons inspired by ‘The City in The City. Berlin: A Green Archipelago’ and the further studies of Ungers’s Berlin as well as previous group studies of Dundee included in the appendix.

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Riga: microrayons

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Riga: streets

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Riga: streets + microrayons

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Riga: green spaces

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Riga: green spaces + microrayons

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Riga: water

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Riga: water + microrayons

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Riga: microrayons + green spaces + streets + water

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Riga as a microrayon

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city centre

microrayon: imanta

mežaparks: private housing

microrayon: purvciems

old town

microrayon: plavnieki

Riga: urban fabric studies Comparing the urban fabric in various microrayons to the close-knit fabric of the Old Town and the city centre.

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microrayons: transforming the everyday life

Mass production led to the formation of microrayons. Their purpose was to alter the everyday life of its residents by connecting them through the use of communal institutions and public spaces.16 The microrayons were planned either conforming to already existing regional subdivisions adapting the configuration of the streets and the natural topography, or taking over the outskirts of the city and developing a completely new infrastructure, thus creating vast developments with the sole purpose of producing liveable square meters. Major motorways, green belts, and the natural landscape all served as edges for these districts, creating clear boundaries. Furthermore, ‘its territory was not to be crossed by important streets, and pedestrian and car traffic were to be, preferably, separated inside the microrayon’.17 Juliana Maxim distinguishes a microrayon from a neighbourhood unit or super-block claiming that it indicates the existence of a larger unit – a rayon. ‘Micro implies planning of a radically different scale, one that engulfs the entirety of the national territory, and of which the microrayon is but one small constitutive part’18 and is specific to socialist states.

However good the intentions were, on top of the lack of various building types – banks, corporate headquarters, spas, places of worship, museums, luxury apartments, malls etc. – due to socialist planning, many of the promised communal facilities were not realised. Microrayons still serve almost exclusively as bedroom communities rather than transformative social condensers. Mārtiņš Mintaurs claims that they achieved the exact opposite:

“This environment generally alienated its residents and strengthened the trend towards mutual isolation. Aware of their dependency on a situation beyond their control, people were searching for ways to decrease the tension caused by the enforced “public privacy’. These trends were also reflected in the residents’ inability to define common interests regarding the maintenance of the apartment buildings after privatisation19 – the experience of communal apartments had eroded the understanding of public good.” 20

Maxim, Juliana, 2011. The microrayon: the organization of mass housing ensembles, Bucharest, 1956-1967. Edinburgh, do.co.mo.mo, p. 16 17 Ibid. 18 Ibid., p. 17 19 after the collapse of the Soviet Union, all citizens of the former Latvian SSR received privatisation vouchers, most commonly used to either purchase shares in former Soviet industrial enterprises or to privatise real estate – mostly the old apartments 20 Mintaurs, Mārtiņš., 2018. In: M. Groskaufmanis, E. Ozola & A. Skrējāne, eds. The Architecture of Together and Apart. Riga: New Theatre Institute of Latvia, p. 120 16

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microrayon + highway

microrayon + highway

no clear edge (microrayon + single family housing)

microrayon + nature studies of edges in Purvciems, Riga Purvciems houses multiple microrayons and, while sometimes it can be difficult to tell them apart, motorways, green belts and the natural landscape usually determine clear boundaries between microrayons. Another way of telling them apart would be examining the building prototypes or so called building series. Purvciems I (in red) is used as a case study in this project.

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Narkomfin A survey of one of the most prominent examples of social condensers. Comprised of housing blocks combining several apartment types differing in the level of privacy and a communal block. Sense of community fostered by joint use of circulation areas and communal facilities (dining halls, kitchens, kindergartens).

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the vision versus the reality: microrayons as social condensers

The search for an architectural form that would advance the society into a new type of community had been ongoing ever since the revolution. The Soviet Constructivists in the 1920s were looking for a structure that would be fit for The New Soviet Man, this investigation being extensively documented in Mosei Ginzburg’s ‘Dwelling’. Additionally, Ginzburg was the one responsible for the term ‘social condenser’, later often appropriated and depoliticised in the West. The word condenser was taken from the name of an electrical transformer and represented the process of ‘electrocuting people into a communist way of life’,21 influencing social behaviour and providing nodes for social interaction. As the Architect Anatole Kopp described:

“Like electrical condensers that transform the nature of current, the architects’ proposed ‘Social Condensers’ were to turn the selfcentered individual of capitalist society into a whole man, the informed militant of socialist society in which the interests of each merged with the interests of all.” Anatole Kopp Ginzburg’s Narkomfin building is believed to be the embodiment of this idea. As an experimental house it tested ideas of transitional type of habitation, encouraging the residents to switch to a communist way of life without decreeing this switch.22 This was done by dividing the building in 2 halves, the larger bottom apartments meant for families who had not fully given up their old ways of life, while the upper apartments reserved for single persons and childless couples. To assist the transition to ‘higher

social forms of housekeeping’ public catering, clothes washing, room cleaning, and kindergartens were designed but to encourage social interaction communal blocks with sports hall, kitchen, dining room and recreation rooms were planned as well as the replacement of vertical links in the apartment buildings with horizontal ones. Furthermore, Ginzburg offered his criticism of socialist projects like Kuzmin’s Commune house or I.S. Nikolaev’s student hostel project, where absolutely everything was ‘collectivised’ down to every minute of the inhabitant’s life, including eating, sport, recreation, and sleep:

“Everyone without exception lives identically and there is no diversity in either economic conditions or a character of way of life. All the difficulties of everyday life have already been resolved and brought into line with standards. The forms of socialist existence are understood not dialectically, in movement, but as a kind of monotonous unchanging state. And for this reason the design solutions for these commune houses are likewise incredibly homogeneous.” 24 Moisei Ginzburg, 2017 He further stresses that a socialist space should enrich and liberate its inhabitants aiding their development. While the microrayons are considered to be social condensers, instead of social growth and stimulation, they exhibit homogeneity and stagnation.

Murawski, Michal, 2017. Revolution and The Social Condenser: How Soviet Architects Sought a Radical New Society. [Online] Available at: https://strelkamag.com/en/article/architecture-revolution-social-condenser 22 Ginzburg, Mosei, 2017. Dwelling: Five Years’ Work on the Problem of the Habitation. s.l.:Fontanka Publications. 23 Ibid. 24 Ibid. 21

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microrayons compared to the modernist housing estates in England Alton Estate is comprised of multiple building types, breaking up the vast site and creating more visual interest. In Purvciems-I only two different building series are used - nine-storey pre-fabricated slab blocks and five-storey pre-fabricated slab blocks - leading to ‘sameness’ throughout the site.

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east and west: differences and similarities

Due to the collective denial applied to all reminders of years of oppression, Latvia lacks a clear assessment of buildings and urban strategies from the Soviet period. Therefore it is useful to examine social housing history in the West and the reasons for their unpopularity while at the same time keeping in mind the different contexts. An investigation in the United Kingdom of ‘difficult-to-let’ estates in 1976 revealed that the main reason for their unpopularity was ‘the disproportionate number of ‘problem families’ they contained and the high number of children residents. Management and maintenance problems followed, mentions of poor environment, inadequate facilities and, in some cases, the design flaws of individual homes emerged. The final point was the vast site; physical separateness; and labelling of the estates – their scale and perceived anonymity, isolation and stigmatisation they suffered in other words’.25 Many of the same issues of sameness and lack of ownership of the semi-public spaces arise in Riga too. However, due to the scale of microrayons and the fact that all housing at the time was ‘social housing’, there is a much higher percentage of economically active residents. Furthermore, Soviet-era housing estates do not suffer the same stigmatisation as social housing does in the West. That being said,

the apartments in microrayons are still unpopular and ‘many families are driven by a desire to escape the drab environments of Soviet-era housing estates and relocate when possible to new or renovated upscale dwellings or detached homes in the growing suburbs.’26 What can be learnt from England is how the architects have attempted to tackle the anonymity and sameness of the estates. Mixed developments and buildings of various typologies were introduced to increase the visual interest and provide the muchneeded contrast. Kate Macintosh, the architect of the Dawson’s Heights estate, stressed the importance of diversity: “If large blocks were to be accepted and loved, as a new way of living,” she said, “they must try to replicate the best characteristics of the terraced street; that families of different sizes and age groups should intermingle, as their needs and strengths would be diverse and complementary.” Alton Estate, called the finest low-cost housing development in the world, is worthy of mention. The estate consists of a mixture of low-rise, red brick, two-storey terraces, bungalows, four-storey maisonettes and elevenstorey point blocks and slab blocks,27 breaking up the vast site in ‘neighbourhoods’ and adding some visual interest, which currently is lacking in Riga’s microrayons.

Boughton, John, 2019. Municipal Dreams: The Rise and Fall of Council Housing. London; Brooklyn NY: Verso, p. 185 Pille Metspalu, D. B. H., 2018. Revisiting the role of architects in planning largescale housing in the USSR: the birth of socialist. Planning Perspectives, 33(3), p. 340 27 Boughton, John, 2019. Municipal Dreams: The Rise and Fall of Council Housing. London; Brooklyn NY: Verso, p. 118 25 26

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the new soviet man in Riga

As mentioned before, one of the agendas for introducing this new model of living was to allow for further progression towards the socialist lifestyle and culture in the newly occupied state.28 Riga had become the industrial centre of the Baltic States attracting both military and civilian industries. As a result, creating beneficial conditions for relocating a workforce that was more loyal to the regime to Riga and thus securing the Soviet rule in this region.

“In a way, this reflected the principles of the communal apartment, where the citizens in SR were tactically compacted, permanently housing several families in one housing unit, but on the scale of a whole Soviet Republic in the Latvian SSR. Both were the result of Soviet economic and social politics, and both created a new mode of social life.”29

impact of standardised construction in the capital. ‘In the Soviet period 680,000 new homes were built in Latvia and about 40% – in Riga. Most of them constructed between 1960 and 1990’.32 However, this still left around 200,000 people or 77,000 families queueing for housing by the late 1980s.33 ‘The apartment had gone from being an ideological tool of instruction to inevitably becoming a deficit, mirroring the contradictions of the unresolved economic and political issues under socialism.’34 Once again this raises the question of whether the standardised apartments in Riga can be perceived as considered and stimulating residential spaces or are they solely habitable square meters?

Mārtiņš Mintaurs, 2018 The population of Riga doubled in 40 years – forced industrialisation and a surge in the workforce from abroad created a chronic deficit of living spaces.30 In fact, in the 20 years after the start of mass-produced housing development in Riga (1959), the population had increased by 300,000 people or around 11,600 to 14,300 people per year.31 This explains the vast

Mintaurs, Mārtiņš, 2018. Housing the New Soviet Man. In: M. Groskaufmanis, E. Ozola & A. Skrējāne, eds. The Architecture of Together and Apart. Riga: New Theatre Institute of Latvia, p. 87 29 Ibid. p. 84 30 Zvirgzdiņš, Artis, 2014. Modernism in Latvia: Housing Programs and a Search for Identity. The Case of Series 103. In: NRJA, ed. Un-written. Riga: s.n., p. 371 31 Šneidere, Irēna, 2001. Latvija Padomju režīma varā 1945-1986. Dokumentu krājums. Rīga: Latvijas vēstures institūta apgāds, p. 172, 436 32 Zvirgzdiņš, Artis, 2014. Modernism in Latvia: Housing Programs and a Search for Identity. The Case of Series 103. In: NRJA, ed. Un-written. Riga: s.n., p. 368 33 Melbergs, Gunārs, 1989. Dzīvoklis-2000. Māksla, 6(34). 34 Mintaurs, Mārtiņš, 2018. Housing the New Soviet Man. In: M. Groskaufmanis, E. Ozola & A. Skrējāne, eds. The Architecture of Together and Apart. Riga: New Theatre Institute of Latvia, p. 87 28

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Purvciems I: existing versus proposed volumes The contemporary gated apartment blocks within the courtyards are replaced with accessible communal blocks.

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purvciems I: the site in question

This study is examining the microrayon Purvciems-I within the district of Purvciems. This is one of the areas where microrayons have been introduced into a low-rise residential area on the edge of the city.35 It was developed in the early 80s consisting of multiple microrayons, mainly comprised of 5, 9 and 12 storey prefab blocks, housing 65,000 residents in total. It is common to have small shops or other public services in the central area of each of the microrayons as well as standardised schools and nurseries. However, there were barely any public facilities provided and there is still a lack of recreational activities. Furthermore, the privatisation of the land after the collapse of the Soviet Union and lack of future planning strategies led to many landowners building new apartments in the middle of once communal courtyards and creating tension between residents and landowners. This is very apparent in Purvciems I.

I are nine-storey blocks with light blue tiling on the prefabricated panels and balconies. The reinforced concrete load-bearing interior walls are set 3.2 meters apart, creating little room for renovation and replanning.36 The five-storey apartment series 467 offer more flexibility when it comes to replanning as shown further on page 76.

When it comes to the apartments themselves, they are described as narrow and unpractical with narrow entrances, small bathrooms and kitchens and long narrow rooms which do not provide a lot of flexibility for furnishing. The specific apartment series – prototypes – used in the ensemble of the microrayon are the Lithuanian series 467 (also known as the old Lithuanian project) and series 602. Apartment series 602 placed along the highway in Purvciems

Cita Rīga, 2010. Purvciema padomju arhitektūra. [Online] Available at: http://www.citariga.lv/lat/purvciems/arhitektura/ SIA “ARHO”, 2006. Dzīvojamo Rajonu Apzināšana un Inventarizācija Rīgas Pilsētā Dzīvojamo Rajonu Atdzīvināšanas (Revitalizācijas) Projekta Ietvaros, Rīga: s.n., p. 31 35 36

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Purvciems I: existing site plan As illustrated above, due to a lack of future planning strategies after the collapse of the Soviet Union, landowners started building new apartment blocks within the courtyards of microrayons, often creating gated communities not accessible to previous inhabitants.

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As this project encourages the inhabitants of the concrete slab blocks to reclaim the courtyards, the contemporary housing blocks are ignored/demolished.

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Purvciems I: connectivity

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paths parked cars vehicle access primary roads secondary roads

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the present in the estates of tomorrow

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1967-1975 5 microrayons bulding series: 464, 467, 602 population: 47 994 53 people/ha

imanta

vecmīlgrāvis

1983 bulding series: 119 population: 19 958 69 people/ha

zolitūde

iļģuciems

1980s population: 34 301 57 people/ha

1970 population: 23 084 38 people/ha

1960s population: 24 282 99 people/ha

ziepniekkalns

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sarkandaugava

1970-1980s bulding series: 464, 467, 602, 103, 104,119 population: 62 036 123 people/ha

purvciems

pļavnieki

1960s population: 26 351 18 people/ha

1985 bulding series: 119, 602 population: 47 097 157 people/ha

jugla

ķengarags

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population: 18 594 24 people/ha

1962 5 microrayons population: 51 837 100 people/ha


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sports facilities libraries cultural institutions microrayon recreational activities distribution of sports facilities, libraries and cultural institutions throughout Riga

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more than 10,000 8,000-10,000 6,000-8,000 4,000-6,000 2,000-4,000 0-2,000 microrayons density people/km2 (2008)

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more than 2,000 1,000-2,000 500-1,000 100-500 less than 100 microrayons connectivity number of public transport trips per day

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more than 50 40-50 30-40 20-30 10-20 1-10 microrayons medical institutions number in each district

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microrayons schools kindergartens schools/kindergartens number in each district

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uncovered identities

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homogeneity

In reality these estates were far from Ginzburg’s imagined forms in which the old hierarchies of class and gender would be tackled by design. While the objective was to plan an equal and classless city, in which no particular areas would be favoured or avoided – all neighbourhoods comprised of standard designs with equal spaces –37 architect Gunārs Melbergs argues that the monotonous content, which does not take into consideration the diverse human desires and requirements, is precisely what is responsible for microrayons’ monotonous character.38 This aligns with Ginzburg’s criticisms towards many of the Socialist projects not taking into consideration the residents’ individual characteristics. Furthermore, Oswald Mathias Ungers and Rem Koolhaas in their ‘The City in The City. Berlin: A Green Archipelago’ manifesto for a city in a decline hypothesise that a homogeneous or anonymous city leads to a lack of personality and identity within its citizens.39 To combat this and the shrinking population they identified areas within Berlin with strong character that embodied certain urban ideals and proposed to preserve and reinforce them – labelling them The Linear City, The Castle City, Mini Manhattan and so on – while letting its surroundings be consumed by a green grid, creating a network of self-sufficient mini-cities within a sea of nature. Additionally, ‘social condensers’ would be

inserted within these islands in order to respond to their needs and further intensify their identity, thus allowing the citizens to choose a space that caters to their desires, allowing them once again to identify with the city. While the notion of a city within a city is not new, in fact, architect Léon Krier in his proposal for Paris in 1976 claims that the city is comprised of somewhat independent districts that must be ‘designed like quasi cities, able to meet most of their inhabitants’ daily needs and structured by hierarchically organised groups of open spaces and public buildings’.40 Ungers and Koolhaas stress the necessity for these islands to be radically different from one another since only through maximum heterogeneity of each of the islands can they achieve the unity of the archipelago as a whole.41 While microrayons themselves resemble islands, they are better described as ‘non-space’ in terms of their identity. This project attempts to rediscover the different qualities of these microrayons restricted by modernist planning and restate them through the implementation of city-scale urban elements – concert halls, monasteries, health centres etc. – and more local interventions – libraries, office blocks, music schools etc. Thus, clarifying each microrayons’ role within the city, diversifying them, generating activities throughout the districts and providing a direction for further developments.

Pille Metspalu, D. B. H., 2018. Revisiting the role of architects in planning largescale housing in the USSR: the birth of socialist. Planning Perspectives, 33(3), p. 337 38 Melbergs, Gunārs, 1979. Dažas Mājokļu Celtniecības Problēmas Pilsētekoloģijas Skatījumā. In: O. Buka, ed. Latvijas PSR Pilsētu Arhitektūra. Riga: Zinātne, p. 138 39 Ungers, Oswald Mathias, 2013. The City in The City. In: S. M. Florian Hertweck, ed. The City in The City. Berlin: A Green Archipelago. s.l.:Lars Müller, p. 96 40 Krier, Léon, 2005. Project for a New Quartier (a city within the city) in the city of Paris in the year 1976. In: M. v. Schaik & O. Macel, eds. Exit Utopia: Architectural Provocations 1956-76. Amsterdam: Prestel Publishing, pp. 277-298. 41 Marot, Sébastien . et al., 2013. The City In The City. Berlin: A Green Archipelago. Critical edition ed. s.l.:Lars Müller, p. 40 37

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aerial photo of Imanta

plan of Imanta

building structure

aerial photo of Vecmīlgrāvis

plan of Vecmīlgrāvis

building structure

aerial photo of Zolitūde

plan of Zolitūde

building structure

aerial photo of Iļģuciems

plan of Iļģuciems

building structure

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The City of the Lively Manor

The Maritime City

Concert Hall

Like many districts around Riga the history of Imanta is tied to development of manors. Unfortunately, Anniņmuiža is the only manor complex left today. Historically it’s been called the lively or joyful manor thanks to frequently organised balls, plays and other events. Building on its heritage, a concert hall is proposed in this area as well as multiple local interventions.

Maritime Facilities

The history of Vecmīlgrāvis is closely connected to the sea, it started as a fishing village, later was popular for its naval school, fishing port and navy base. It even houses the only church with a lighthouse in its church tower. To strengthen its identity various city scale maritime facilities are proposed and multiple local interventions like boathouses and training centres. The name ‘Zolitūde’ originated from the Solitude manor, which got its name because of how calm and secluded this area was at the time. At the city scale, a modern day monastery away from the stressful every day lives, where solitude and peace can be experienced is proposed.

The City of Solitude

The City of Crafts

Monastery

Retail Markets 51

First residents of Iļģuciems were gardeners and fisherman. Later ļģuciems became somewhat of a center for glass, fabric and clay manufacture, which naturally led to establishment of market of Iļģuciems. In hopes to reintroduce the craftsmanship culture back into the district, we are proposing a retail market with supportive local interventions like communal gardens, studios and greenhouses.


aerial photo of Sarkandaugava

plan of Sarkandaugava

building structure

aerial photo of Purvciems

plan of Purvciems

building structure

aerial photo of Pļavnieki

plan of Pļavnieki

building structure

aerial photo of Jugla

plan of Jugla

building structure

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The City of Well Being

The City of Dwelling

The City of Concrete Jungle

The Resort City

Sanatorium

The location of Sarkandaugava is so peculiar it made tsar Peter the Great consider moving Riga here and have another palace built. However, he did not get further than building an imperial garden. Later this place became known for its care homes, which now have turned into psycho-neurological hospitals. Proposing a sanatorium here further builds on the identity of well-being and care.

Palace of Culture

This whole area used to be a swamp, which is where its name comes from, the direct translation - The Swamp Village. Now it is a a desirable microrayon located between a forest and the city centre with great public transport links. This is why to further support this identity a cultural centre is proposed with multiple local interventions like markets, music and art schools.

Tourist Routes

Pļavnieki is the newest of Riga’s microrayons, built in 1985. The name comes from ‘pļava’ which means meadow in Latvian. It’s one of the starkest examples of mass produced housing and its contrast with the surrounding nature. To strengthen its identity we are proposing establishing tourist routes through the district acknowledging its ties to the Soviet history.

Waterfront Development

The district got its name thanks to the river flowing through it and various lakes dotted around. It used to be a popular holiday spot with romantic boat trips and beach parties. Recently redeveloped promenade is a clear effort restore Jugla’s identity. That is why further waterfront development is proposed here as well as hotels and other beach and resort facilities.

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families in Riga

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a library of modular spatial elements Possible types of city-scale and more local interventions were determined as a resource for further developments and sorted into local and city-scale interventions. Some of the city-scale interventions include: administrative centers, arenas, universities, concert halls, convents, convention centers, hospitals, museums and theatres. Some of the more local interventions include: bars, beach facilities, churches, civic centres, cultural centers, greenhouses, music and art schools, nursing homes, office blocks, outdoor venues, retail markets and outdoor sports fields. Each microrayon would have a city-scale intervention and multiple local interventions. Based on them spatial volumes comprised of 3.5x3.5m modules, were designed and added to the ‘library’. Later a study was done of how these building blocks could fit together and fit into the microrayons.

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a library of inhabited spatial elements Previously discussed modular elements were later inhabited. These include interior elements - offices, classrooms, lecture hall, exhibition hall, stairs etc. - and exterior elements - outdoor pavilions, outdoor ramp, playgrounds and outdoor seating - that could be arranged based on the inhabitants needs and microrayon’s identity.

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Purvciems I: local interventions within

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where in Riga new recreational spaces should be designed? survey data

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lack of building types

Although intended to encourage its residents to adopt a collective lifestyle, socialise and seek personal development, microrayons, in reality, have turned into bedroom districts, spaces for passing through not lingering. Juliana Maxim points out that: “Much of the microrayon’s character is determined by the demise of the street as the main place of urban experience; instead, large, collective green spaces that occupy most of the non-built surface now constitute the places of social interaction. Indeed, along with the street itself, the traditional opposition between public space and private property is transformed, and the land surrounding the residential buildings is now no longer private nor public, but of an intermediary, collective, nature.”42 Traditional typological spaces noted by Gunārs Melbergs –43 backyard or threshold (an extension of the interior spaces outdoors), recreation spaces (gardens, etc.), circulation routes (streets) and spaces for public activity – are suddenly lost and replaced by vast green non-spaces with no clear purpose. Inserting the previously mentioned local and city scale interventions – communal blocks – within the courtyards reintroduce the notion of a street as the embodiment of a society. Additionally, from a formation of a street where multiple buildings are forced to align and respond to each other a

coherent collective form is achieved.44 Moreover, the communal blocks would assert each district’s re-emerging identity and composing them from pre-designed spatial elements would allow the residents to cater the brief to their specific needs and create destinations within the district. Opening up the ground floor of the apartment blocks that form the street as business premises responds to the traditional idea of a high street and allows for further connection to the surrounding areas. In order to break up the vast courtyard space and encourage its residents to reclaim and utilise it clear zones where specific activities could take place – playgrounds, communal gardens, planting, sports facilities, pavilions for rest and observation etc. – are proposed similarly to Mosei Ginzburg’s proposal for Central Park of Culture and Leisure in Moscow. Through careful layering of programme overlapping circulation would be achieved, creating possibilities of unexpected social interaction, and moving closer to Ginzburg’s imagined social condensers.

Maxim, J., 2011. The microrayon: the organization of mass housing ensembles, Bucharest, 1956-1967. Edinburgh, do.co.mo.mo, p. 19 43 Melbergs, Gunārs, 1979. Dažas Mājokļu Celtniecības Problēmas Pilsētekoloģijas Skatījumā. In: O. Buka, ed. Latvijas PSR Pilsētu Arhitektūra. Riga: Zinātne, p. 151 44 Kollhoff Hans et al., 2013. The City In The City. Berlin: A Green Archipelago. Critical edition ed. s.l.:Lars Müller, p. 161 42

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building uses in Purvciems

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religious institutions

single family homes

recreational facilities

soviet housing blocks

offices

apartments built after 1990

healthcare institutions

pre-schools

industry

schools

maintenance

other education institutions

unknown (incl. older apartments)

retail/cafes


re-do

building series in Purvciems

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series 467 (9 storeys) series 464 (new Lithuanian) series 467 (old Lithuanian) unknown/special projects series 602 renovated projects series 119 french project series 316, 318 (Khrushchev’s project)

series 104

project for small families series 103

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series 464 (‘the new Lithuanian project) So called new Lithuanian project is a five storey building based on the old Lithuanian project, but this building series has loggias instead of balconies. These can be mainly found in Ķengarags, Iļuciems, Purvciems and Imanta.

series 467 (‘the old Lithuanian project) So called old Lithuanian project is a five storey building made out of grey concrete panels with fragile looking balconies on the South side. The first floor is raised and there are no lifts, which mean that the buildings are not accessible for everyone. First series that appeared in Riga, widely used in Ķengarags and Imanta.

series 602 Series 602 are nine-storey prefabricated slab buildings with load-bearing wall construction designed of lightweight aggregate concrete. Usually have loggias or balconies. In the early 80s were replace with series 119, however, this is still the most common series in Riga and can be found in Purvciems, Mežciems, Imanta, Pļavnieki, Ziepniekkalns, Vecmīlgrāvis and Iļģuciems. The first building was built in 1967 on the corner of Vaidavas and Dzelzavas street.

series 119 Series 119 are nine or five storey buildings completely designed and constructed in Latvia. One of the most popular building series in Latvia due to the successful layout, spacious rooms and wide possibilities of reconstruction. Series 119 can be found in all the new housing estates in Riga. The first ones were constructed in early 1980s.

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the french project The French project can be either 16 or 18 storey buildings built from monolithic reinforced concrete. There are only four buildings of this series in Riga. It is called the french project because the core was ordered from France. Each of the apartment has a balcony.

series 467 9 storey Series 467 are nine storey buildings are similar to series 602, with the main significance being the loggias that these series have. Mainly these buildings are located in: Krasta massive, Purvciems, Pļavnieki, Imanta and Ķengarags as well as in Iļģuciems.

small-family project These projects are either five, nine or even twelve storey high and comprised only of one room apartments. Typically five-storey buildings have one stairwell and one hall from which all the apartments run off with 20 apartments in total.

series 103 Series 103 are five storey prefabricated brick buildings. The layout of the building is fairly flexible and can be easily changed to fit the location, that is why there are many variations of this series. They can be found in almost every microrayon in Riga.

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stage 1: a grid of trees The courtyard is divided in a 3.5 by 3.5 grid with trees in the middle of each of them.

stage 2: divide courtyard into activities The courtyard is further divided into activities based on the identities and the implemented grid.

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zones

parking

communal gardens

built

outdoor seating/ meeting

play

sports

green

contemplation

stage 3: circulation Next circulation routes are put through each of the zones in a way that people are forced to walk through multiple zones, thus encouraging unplanned social interactions. In Purvciems-I the chosen zones are parking, communal gardens at the back of the apartment buildings, built zone for the communal block, outdoor seating/ meeting area, play area with multiple playgrounds, sports area with basketball and badminton court as well as a skate-park, contemplation area with pavilions and green belts. The activities for each of these zones are carved out of the already established forest grid.

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proposal for the building series 467 - five-storey buildings in the inner courtyard In order to make these buildings more accessible new entry ways and lifts are proposed, but to extend the narrow living spaces winter gardens are introduced and exposed exterior walls insulated. The renovation of the individual apartments is out scope of this project, however, it is shown how some of the non load-bearing walls can be demolished in order to create more open spaces.

proposal for the building series 602 - nine-storey buildings facing the motorway Similarly here new entry ways and lifts are proposed, narrow living spaces extended by adding winter gardens and exposed exterior walls insulated. The renovation of the individual apartments is out scope of this project, however, it is shown how some of the non load-bearing walls can be demolished in order to create more open spaces.

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lack of variety

Looking at the decreasing population of Latvia and Riga, specifically, one could argue that there is no need for this discussion, and we simply let these estates diminish. Sadly, it does not liberate the country from investing in housing for numerous reasons. As explained by Pēteris Strautiņš in his essay After the Bubble, the housing market is composed of discreet units, it is not infinitely ‘liquid’, which means that even though the society earns more and wants better quality flats, they are stuck with the same small Soviet-era apartments, which, as stated before, make up more than 2/3 of the housing stock.45 Furthermore, due to reasons particular to former Soviet Republics outlined above, the issue cannot be solved solely by the construction of new homes, the existing housing stock needs to be improved. Not only are Soviet housing slabs in Riga visibly decaying, they also lose a significant amount of heat due to poor insulation.46 While everyone agrees that something has to be done, there is no clear plan how to tackle these issues. The discontent of citizens leads to migration to the periphery of the city and its partial decay. In his ‘The City in The City’ manifesto discussing the declining population of Berlin Ungers writes: “Without a radically improved offer no one will want to remain in a bankrupt city of his own accord or, still less, go back there.”47

Therefore, this project not only focuses on the microrayon scale but also on the slabs themselves. Attempts are made to improve the apartments by extending the living spaces by adding winter gardens, similarly to Lacaton&Vassal’s renovation of three fully occupied Modernist social housing blocks, proposing new lift lobbies in order to make the apartments more accessible and provide more spaces for social interaction and replacing the remaining balconies with a new structure that would allow for its occupants to modify it as they would see fit.

Strautiņš, Pēteris, 2018. After the Bubble. In: M. Groskafmanis, E. Ozola & A. Skrējāne, eds. The Architecture of Together and Apart. Riga: New Theatre Institute of Latvia, p. 93 46 Ibid. 47 Ungers, Oswald Mathias, 2013. The City in The City. In: S. M. Florian Hertweck, ed. The City in The City. Berlin: A Green Archipelago. s.l.:Lars Müller, p. 87 45

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adequate seating and spaces where to linger

new lift lobby and accessible access

adaptable design

private gardens, connection to nature

playgrounds

generating activities, destinations

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new parking and street scape

ground floor available for businesses

gathering spaces, pavilions

new street scape

courtyard divided by different activities

identifying the issues From the gathered images of the everyday life in microrayons inhabitants behaviour and needs were examined informing the design brief so it would promote the desirable activities in the area.

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467 building series: existing plan

467 building series: proposed plan

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467 building series: existing axonometric

467 building series: proposed axonometric

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467 building series: existing

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467 building series: proposed

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602 building series: existing plan

602 building series: proposed plan

467. building series existing 80


602 building series: existing axonometric

602 building series: proposed axonometric

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602 building series: existing

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602 building series: proposed

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image showing the proposal for the inner courtyard in Purvciems-I

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reflection

While it is clear that the story of Soviet architecture is a complicated one, the question of how to appropriately assess and manage the built heritage in the post-Soviet states is still undecided. This study suggests revisiting the theory of social condensers in order to understand how microrayons could be improved to reach their potential, as well as implement lessons learnt from the social housing in the West. Although this project overlooks certain organisational questions like split land ownership or co-ownership of the slab blocks themselves it provokes a wider discussion concerning the future of Soviet Modernist housing estates. The microrayon living is re-imagined on different scales – the monotonous character of Soviet housing estates is tackled by learning from ‘Berlin: A Green Archipelago’ and uncovering their unique identities and establishing a clear role for each of them within the city; spatial elements are introduced within the ‘non-space’ of courtyards, strengthening the given identity and creating destinations; the demise of the street as a social space is challenged by reintroducing the hierarchy of traditional typological spaces and creating a collective urban ensemble; lack of activity combatted by re-imagining social condensers, zoning the courtyards to create overlapping circulation to

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generate unplanned social interactions; and finally, the narrow and undesirable apartments are extended by adding winter gardens on one of the facades and making them more accessible and desirable. As Mosei Ginzburg himself states: “One of the greatest evils in questions of housing is the way in which ‘the dead exploit the living’. What I mean here is habitations built many decades ago in which new life processes now have to fit.”48 This study proposes a new reality, one where a democratic state can challenge its communist past without denying its merits, one where its citizens can finally re-identify with the city. This alternative reality can hopefully serve as a starting point for a wider discussion and provoke further initiatives.

Ginzburg, Mosei, 2017. Dwelling: Five Years’ Work on the Problem of the Habitation. s.l.:Fontanka Publications.

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bibliography Belogolovsky, Vladimir, 2014. Re-examining Soviet Modernism. In: NRJA, ed. Un-written. Riga: s.n., pp. 59-99. Boughton, John, 2019. Municipal Dreams: The Rise and Fall of Council Housing. London; Brooklyn NY: Verso. Chaubin, Frederic, 2011. CCCP: Cosmic Communist Construction Photographed. s.l.:TASCHEN Gmbh. Cita Rīga, 2010. Purvciema padomju arhitektūra. [Online] Available at: http://www.citariga.lv/lat/purvciems/arhitektura/ [Accessed 8 01 2021]. Ginzburg, Mosei, 2017. Dwelling: Five Years’ Work on the Problem of the Habitation. s.l.:Fontanka Publications. Hertweck, Florian (editor) et al., 2013. The City In The City. Berlin: A Green Archipelago. Critical edition ed. s.l.:Lars Müller. Ījabs, Ivars, 2018. Governing Invisibility. In: Evelīna Ozola, Anda Skrējāne, Matīss Gorskaufmanis, ed. The Architecture of Together and Apart: an inquiry into apartment buildings. Riga: New Theatre Institute of Latvia, pp. 19-36. Khrushchev, Nikita, 1954. speech at the National Conference of Builders, Architects, Workers in the Construction Materials and Manufacture of Construction and Roads Machinery Industries, and Employees of Design and Research and Development Organisations. Moscow, s.n. Krier, Leon, 2005. Project for a New Quartier (a city within the city) in the city of Paris in the year 1976. In: M. v. Schaik & O. Macel, eds. Exit Utopia: Architectural Provocations 1956-76. Amsterdam: Prestel Publishing, pp. 277-298. Matīss Groskaufmanis, Evelīna Ozola, Anda Skrējāne ed. 2018. The Architecture of Together and Apart. Riga: New Theatre Institure of Latvia. Maxim, Juliana, 2011. The microrayon: the organization of mass housing ensembles, Bucharest, 1956-1967. Edinburgh, do.co.mo.mo. Melbergs, Gunārs, 1979. Dažas Mājokļu Celtniecības Problēmas Pilsētekoloģijas Skatījumā. In: O. Buka, ed. Latvijas PSR Pilsētu Arhitektūra. Riga: Zinātne, pp. 132-141. Melbergs, Gunārs, 1989. Dzīvoklis-2000. Māksla, 6(34). Melbergs, Gunārs, 1993. Pilsētbūvniecība Latvijā. In: J. Lejnieks, ed. Latvijas athitektūra ‘93. Rīga: Baltika, p. 60.

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Mintaurs, Mārtiņš, 2018. Housing the New Soviet Man. In: M. Groskaufmanis, E. Ozola & A. Skrējāne, eds. The Architecture of Together and Apart. Riga: New Theatre Institute of Latvia, pp. 81-89. Murawski, Michal, 2017. Revolution and the Social Condenser: How Soviet Architects Sought a Radical New Society. [Online] Available at: https://strelkamag.com/en/article/architecture-revolution-social-condenser [Accessed 20 January 2021]. NRJA, 2014. Un-written, Riga: s.n. Pille Metspalu, Daniel B. Hess, 2018. Revisiting the role of architects in planning largescale housing in the USSR: the birth of socialist residential districts in Tallinn, Estonia, 1957–1979. Planning Perspectives, 33(3), pp. 335-361. Reinvald, Jaanika, 2017. Democracy: Washing The Socialist Stains From Our Heritage. Delhi, s.n. Roose, E., 1961. Kilde linnamajandusest [Fractions of Urban Economy]. Sirp ja Vasar, 31(9). SIA “ARHO”, 2006. Dzīvojamo Rajonu Apzināšana un Inventarizācija Rīgas Pilsētā Dzīvojamo Rajonu Atdzīvināšanas (Revitalizācijas) Projekta Ietvaros, Rīga: s.n. Šneidere, Irēna, 2001. Latvija Padomju režīma varā 1945-1986. Dokumentu krājums. Rīga: Latvijas vēstures institūta apgāds. Strautiņš, Pēteris, 2018. After the Bubble. In: M. Groskafmanis, E. Ozola & A. Skrējāne, eds. The Architecture of Togther and Apart. Riga: New Theatre Institute of Latvia, pp. 8996. Tsenkova, Sasha, 2006. Managing change: The comeback of postsocialist cities - Scientific Figure on ResearchGate. [Online] Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Multifamily-prefabricated-housing-inRiga_fig3_232975477 [Accessed 19 April 2021]. Ungers, Oswald Mathias, 2013. The City in The City. In: S. M. Florian Hertweck, ed. The City in The City. Berlin: A Green Archipelago. s.l.:Lars Müller, pp. 83-129. Zvirgzdiņš, Artis, 2014. Modernism in Latvia: Housing Programs and a Search for Identity. The Case of Series 103. In: NRJA, ed. Un-written. Riga: s.n., pp. 367-383.

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appendix: design project

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Purvciems: axonometric

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92


library of spatial elements

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Purvciems I: plan

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Purvciems I: section

Purvciems I: section

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view towards the communal block from the street

view of the communal block from the existing slab blocks

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interior view of the atrium

view from the restaurant towards the courtyard

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exploded axonometric of the communal block

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plans of communal block

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series 467: proposed axonometric

series 602: proposed axonometric

102


view from the winter garden

103


fire strategy

circulation

heating strategy (ground source heat pump)

shadow studies

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detailed section of the communal block

detailed elevation

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appendix: Berlin: A Green Archipelago a former study of canonic city plans done by Veera Kivelä, MaHi Jain, Wei Lin Zhi and Līga Ramata

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mini-cities identified in contemporary Berlin figure ground plan

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mini-cities identified in contemporary Berlin satellite image

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poly-centric Berlin

mono-centric Berlin

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Dundee: A Green Archipelago

A city formerly known for its three J’s, jam, jute and journalism, Dundee, is in a state of decline. Despite the attempts to regenerate the city centre and the Dundee waterfront, with additions of the like of the new Victoria and Albert museum, the city’s population is expected to decrease. With an already fluctuating number of citizens, the quiet summers are a stark contrast to the numbers of students that come and go during university term times. With the current pandemic limiting the possibilities of roaming around the city, Dundee is yet again reduced to quiet streets and empty storefronts.

A decaying, polycentric city, Dundee offers a similar platform for an exercise in urbanity as 1970s Berlin did for Oswald Mathias Ungers and Rem Koolhaas. With its scattered hotspots, churches and neighbourhoods with an unusual urban configuration, there is a selection of islands with the potentiality of success as independent entities. Recognising areas of historical, social, economic and political importance, the city can be condensed into a series of spaces, or rooms. Rooms that create the necessary movement and activity but remove the unnecessary.

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Dundee: a green archipelago

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waterfront, satellite image

figure ground plan

bird’s eye view

forth ports, satellite image

figure ground plan

bird’s eye view

university of dundee campus, satellite image

figure ground plan

bird’s eye view

balgay park, satellite image

figure ground plan

bird’s eye view

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the waterfront was chosen for its cultural and social significance and the number of important buildings it houses. the current waterfront plan of regeneration through a single object (the v&a dundee) has a lot of similarities with the well-known regenerative masterplan of bilbao, which was achieved thanks to the guggenheim museum.

city of spectacle

bilbao, spain guggenheim the port has always been a very important and distinctive part of dundee, with a huge financial and historical significance. the configuration of the port compared to its surroundings already bear a significance for a self-sustained city with a close relationship to the river, similarly to ostica antica, a port city in ancient rome.

port city

ostia antica, rome the university of dundee campus resembles a city within a city with its own shops, accommodation, church etc. although many of european universities are characterized by ownership of individual buildings in an urban setting, dundee follows the later developed american campus configuration, with a disconnect to the rest of the city fabric.

city of enlightenment

berkeley paimio sanatorium was designed as a ‘medical instrument’ to aid the healing process of tuberculosis patients by access to fresh air and sunshine. similarly, the balgay park with its royal victoria hospital for incurables seems to be organised as a healing environment with views towards the park and fresh air.

city of well-being

paimio sanatorium, finland

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the law, satellite image

figure ground plan

bird’s eye view

blackness, satellite image

figure ground plan

bird’s eye view

hilltown, satellite image

figure ground plan

bird’s eye view

craigie garden city estate, satellite image

figure ground plan

bird’s eye view

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the building fabric surrounding the law hill is organised solely around its topography. It stands out from dundee’s usual urban topography. it’s hierarchical structure resembling mont saint michel in france with a landmark at the top, the rest of the town structured around it in an enclave.

city of topographies

mont saint michel blackness is a historically important part of dundee, with a unique building fabric. it has lost its purpose as an industrial centre of the city and is searching for a new identity. this can be seen through its disorganised nature and its many in-fills. telliskivi is a former industrial quarter in tallinn, now turned into a creative quarter and given a new identity

industrial city

telliskivi, tallinn hilltown’s four high-rises are a distinct landmark, towering over the city. they embody the spirit of post-world war II social housing estates. similarly, one of the biggest council housing estates in the united kingdom, alton housing estate, was built to repair and reinvigorate a slum in london.

city of isolation

alton housing estate the craigie garden city estate, designed by James Thomson, was influenced by Ebenezer Howard’s idea of garden cities. they were supposed to be selfsufficient satellites of the central city organised around a central garden with important buildings, such as churches, town halls, hospitals and rings of housing, growing around the greenery and amidst green belts.

garden city

the garden city

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