Architecture of Migration, Conference- Riga Latvia.

Friday November 1st 2019 by Peter Thomas Lang

Curatorial Statement
By choosing “Architecture of Migration” as a conference theme, we aim to broaden the notion of “migration” beyond its preconceptions and deconstruct its most common meanings. Architecture in this context is considered a system, a medium and prerequisite for movement – not merely an inhabitable building but the physical infrastructure of space and intangible connections.

The event and conference will merge worldwide expertise with a closer focus on the Baltic Sea Region and countries delineating the Baltic coast.

(I) The Nordic-Baltic region in the crossroads of global mobilities

What are the outer forces that shape the North? What kind of global transitions are we experiencing now? And more precisely – how do we position ourselves, meaning the Baltic Sea Region, in the crossroads of worldwide circulation?

What if we look at the planet by altering our habitual way? We may be confronted with unnoticed geopolitical and economic intentions and system of intersecting flows – networks of high-speed transport links and fiber-optics grids, opportunities for exploitation of the Arctic, abandoned border checkpoints, and urbanisation of the Baltic Sea in opposition to the drama of the shrinking population in the countryside.

(II) The ecosystem of the Baltic Sea region – a space shared?

Significant and innovative cross-border collaborations are and will be extremely crucial in achieving sustainability goals.

By marking the Baltic Sea Region on the larger geopolitical canvas, we aim to overcome national boundaries and build a community in the belief that the Baltic countries can perform more powerfully together – share their narrative and develop policies and instruments for a resilient future.

What challenges do we share within the region?


The curatorial team consists of two Latvian architects: Dagnija Smilga and Dina Suhanova. They are both committed to shaping a common dialogue to identify future trends within the Baltic space in order to reimagine design briefs, revise policies and plan socio-economic, territorial and spatial transformations. Both believe that performing in the field of architecture is part of building a surrounding culture.

is a practicing architect, researcher, and curator operating between the Alps and the Baltic coastline. She is a founding partner of “ĒTER” – an architectural practice that creates unique environments in-between nature, technology, and contemporary culture. Her professional career includes an associate architect position at Hosoya Schaefer Architects, where her work has been fundamental for projects such as a UP Express train line in Toronto, a train station in Herisau and Airport Engadin – the last two in Switzerland. She graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna with the master’s thesis “Landscape of Contemporary Infrastructure: The Network of Shrinking Towns in the Baltic Sea Region”. The research led to co-curating and designing the joint exhibition “The Baltic Pavilion” – the Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian representation at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia 2016.

is educated as an architect and theorist in visual arts and culture. After working professionally as an architect, Dina currently has turned her interests towards architects’ education and acts as an architecture programme director and tutor at RISEBA University of Applied Sciences.

For almost 10 years she has worked in collaboration with the architectural design studio Mailītis Architects and was a team member of the award-winning project of the Shaolin Flying Monks Temple in China. Dina is also an editor of numerous academic publications, frequently contributes articles to the journal “Latvijas Architektūra”, is involved in curating summer programmes for architecture and urbanism students, and takes part in other interdisciplinary projects on an international level.

Session / Part II
The ecosystem of the Baltic Sea region – a space shared?

In the second session of the conference we will look closer to the Baltic Sea Region defining Baltic space by means of geopolitics and economy, physical infrastructure and spatial complexities. What is the shared space we stay and use being on the move?

14.00 – 14.30 “The Legal Status of Ice”

The current border dispute over the Arctic Ocean does not only concern geopolitical power structures but poses a more ontological question on the human right to declare sovereignty by means of a thin line. By tracking the history of cartography and deploying it to the Arctic, the research sheds new light on the origin of the conflict and reflects on the importance of mapping and visualizing its complexity.
Irene Stracuzzi
graphic designer and researcher, based in Eindhoven
14.30 – 15.00 “A search for minimal footprint in mobility”
Indrek Allmann
Estonian architect and partner at Pluss Architects
15.00 – 15.30 “Cases of Inertness”

The infrastructure of the Baltic States is being diversified away from the spatial model of the Soviet industrialization. The presentation will explore cases of the inertness of the built space that pose difficulties not only locally but are challenges for the European Project too.
Jonas Žukauskas
architect based in Vilnius
15.30 – 16.00 “UPB Growth Story – Regional Context”
Dainis Bērziņš
Chairman of the UPB Management Board, based in Latvia
Panel discussion moderated by Peter Lang
architecture theorist, operating between the Scandinavia and Italy
Participants: Irene Stracuzzi, Jonas Žukauskas, Dainis Bērziņš.