latvian pavilion explores living together in complex society at the venice architecture biennale

latvian pavilion explores living together in complex society at the venice architecture biennale

the exhibition developed by latvian pavilion for 16th venice architecture biennale aims to explore the question of living together in an increasingly complex society, and architecture’s role in providing for it. titled ‘together and apart’, the show is divided into four sections — ‘distance’, ‘promise’, ‘warmth’, and ‘self’ — each looking at a socioeconomic transformation through the lens of an apartment building.

all images © ansis starks



‘two-thirds of latvia’s residents live in apartment buildings, which is the highest ratio amongst the european union countries,’ comments the curator matīss groskaufmanis. ‘this is remarkable when considering that at the same time it is one of the most sparsely populated parts of europe. for many, this type of housing serves not only as the most common experience of architecture but also as an interface between individual spheres and the processes of the outside world. to highlight this, we aim to display the apartment building as an architectural, as well as a political, an economic and an ecological project.’ 



the sections are presented through large-scale conceptual models which seek to capture architecture’s relationship to apartment living and broader societal processes:


— the ‘distance’ section portrays the proximities between individual spheres that emerge as a consequence of demographic shifts;

— ‘promise’ looks at the apartment building as a political project;

— ‘warmth’ explores the relationship between energy consumption, geopolitics, and collective decision making;

— ‘self’ deals with the individual apartment as a subject of private property, and the limitations of it.




the exhibition also features archival materials that illustrate significant episodes from both the far and the more recent history of apartment living, as well as photography series by reinis hofmanis, depicting the multitude of apartment buildings found in latvia’s urban and rural landscapes. the official opening of the latvian pavilion also served as the launch for an accompanying publication the architecture of together and apart: an inquiry into apartment buildings. the book encapsulates and extends the content of the exhibition, and includes essays written by a diverse range of authors.







project info:


curators: matīss groskaufmanis, gundega laiviņa, evelīna ozola, anda skrējāne

exhibitors: ivars drulle, mārtiņš dušelis, matīss groskaufmanis, reinis hofmanis, darja melnikova, evelīna ozola, dita pāne, anda skrējāne, charlotte spichalsky

commissioner: jānis dripe

production: latvijas jaunā teātra institūts, klinta harju

archival research: karīna horsta, toms zariņš

graphic design: goys & birls

technical support: dekorāciju darbnīca

supporters: ministry of culture of the republic of latvia, live riga, if, airos, embassy of the republic of latvia in italy, lmt, riga chair, krāsu serviss, valmiermuiža, and gardu muti



book info:


editors: matīss groskaufmanis, evelīna ozola, anda skrējāne

essays by: błażej czuba, robert alexander gorny, ivars ījabs, mārtiņš mintaurs, kārlis ratnieks, kārlis sils, peter sloterdijk, pēteris strautiņš, renata tyszczuk

archival research: karīna horsta, toms zariņš

illustrations: sander ettema, ludo groen, mārtiņš ostaņēvičs, marta prikule

photography: reinis hofmanis, ieva raudsepa



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: maria erman | designboom

SGHS korean pavilion venice biennale

designboom’s coverage of the 2018 venice architecture biennale is in partnership with leading energy company edison. edison is taking part in the 16th international architecture exhibition of la biennale di venezia by initiating a path towards sustainability and the efficient use of resources. the collaboration between edison and la biennale is based on awareness that energy is one of the fundamental elements of architecture and of the places, spaces and cities of contemporary life.

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