location: riga, latvia
zolitūde is on the ‘buda’ side of riga. sorry, it’s really a local approach from budapest, it means something nicer, calmer, hillier, grassier part of the river in a city, relatively of course.
it is also from the last moments of soviet times, when architecture seemed to find itself in a colorful postmodern way, but it was already too late. anyhow, it’s still not so depressing neighbourhood as usually, delight of lego bricks is floating over the buildings. (ok, maybe it doesn’t shout from the pictures. maybe in the summer!)
the name means solitude, which is really astonishing after lots of dreary and imageless place names. there are more explanations for it, one is about a part of napoleon’s army which remained here separated from others, other simply refers to the loneliness of inhabitants who lived between abandoned fields, forests and swampy grounds of the area. it is already amazing to have napoleon and this place in our mind at the same time, but the name perfectly fits today’s loneliness, which is a particular characteristic of housing estates in large distance from anything alive.
bus number 8 comes from the city, blue and modern, goes around the neighbourhood. colorful high-rises appear in front of the eye, as the bus goes, they are moving behind each other. appear, disappear and reappear after the curve. final station, we are almost back in the start.
they’re moving towards you with their colors all the same
location: from purvciems to mežciems, riga, latvia
there is a 19th century worker district near the centre of riga, called grizinkalns. it’s brown and rusty and noble, details maybe later. in this neighbourhood the buildings are tied to each other by overcrossing trolley wires, and time to time, light blue trolleys appear on brown streets. they have numbers: if we miss 23, we still can catch the 18, and it takes us farther, even to mežciems.
first, we reach purvciems, which means ‘marsh village’, and it was built in the 1980s and 90s, so it is sometimes referred as postsoviet rather than soviet.
as journey continues, landscape becomes blurred, contours become soft.
than the trolley slowly arrives to the egde of the town, where fairy creatures are living in lakes called juglas ezers. it is already mežciems, which means ‘forest village’ and was built in the 1970s. it is hiding from the visitor, at first sight everything seems so distant, as if real life of the neighbourhood would happen somewhere inside, where outsiders can’t see it. it is just a bus stop in the end of the world, driving to the forests, and some houses in the distance, which could be built anytime, even in the nineties.
location: riga, latvia
never seen such a rich collection of forms in a housing estate before! really delightful experience after a lot of grey concrete and poor design. it looks like for the 80s architects got bored with unattractive housing projects, and they also had the chance to plan buildings as smart as possible. we can tell about many block buildings, that they are lego houses, but here they used a high, almost western quality lego. the most noticeable feature of the buildings is the careful attention, which accompanied their planning. the goal of architects is not anymore to get off the job with the lowest charges and the highest plan numbers, but to find a way to create an environment more exciting and fitting to human demands.
look at the facades! with a good cut, they are pure aesthetic play of forms.
genre paintings with high contrasts of baltic winter.
different house types are also interesting in three dimension.
a blue quarter.
other facades in the space.
microdistricts in golden sunshine.