Our readers on PROJECT BALTIA

Sergey Tchoban

Architect, director of ‘nps tchoban voss’ bureau (Berlin)

«PROJECT BALTIA is the first Russian journal to link the traditions of national and foreign architecture, and do this through regionalism. In fact, this connection has always existed, even in Soviet times: Finnish architects were already working in Leningrad at the very beginning of perestroika. Everyone knew that Latvians, Lithuanians, and Estonians create very interesting designs. And to compare once more, in a professional way, the work of architects from Baltic countries and those of northern Russia, to create a project with an international scope – this, I think, is a very bold and interesting move. Other journals lack a constructive juxtaposition of the different tendencies that exist in neighbouring countries, but PROJECT BALTIA has found a way of doing this. Additionally, the format of the journal is important: there is a very well-balanced mix of textual, theoretical and visual material. I think this journal has secured a special place for itself not only in Russia, but in Europe – and this is very important» 


Matti Rautiola

Architect, President of Rakennustieto

«As globalization progresses, the European countries – for instance, those that lie on the coast of the Mediterranean – are developing methods of multi-aspect cultural cooperation. It seems to me that we north-eastern European countries must carry out a similar policy in order to survive, i.e. must find ways of uniting and concentrating our efforts. And I think there are historical premises that we can count on to being about such a unification. We have a common past, we understand the regional requirements regarding lifestyle, we know how to do business with one another. And this is, in theory, enough to enable us to look for possibilities of more intensive cooperation. This process is already underway in economics, but it is important to work on this in culture as well, and especially in architecture. Architects find it interesting to know how universal architectural thought operates in our region. Right now, we are seeing architecture developing at enormous speed – in St Petersburg, for example. PROJECT BALTIA has filled this niche, showing what is happening architecturally in our region – and, above all, what is happening in reality» 


Juris Poga

Deputy Chairman of the Latvian Union of Architects (chairman from 1999 to 2005), director of  Pogas birojs

«For me – and my colleagues agree – PROJECT BALTIA is a publication that cuts across borders. It is a unique opportunity to get an overview of architectural events in an extensive region which is otherwise informationally fractured. Architecture is becoming internationalized – just like art, music, and so on. This is normal. We have been working in an international environment for several years now ourselves; in our projects we collaborate with architects and engineers from Germany, Austria, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania and also Russia. In this respect Project Baltia is progressive, wide in scope, and professionally concise. My very best wishes to you!»


Tomas Grunskis

Head of architectural bureau aexn | arquitectonica ex nihilo

«Why PROJECT BALTIA? Because it talks about a huge diversity of architectural phenomena… from architectural practice to theorizing and philosophies. On other hand, it is the only journal to cover the entire Baltic region and to present its architecture in the European cultural context» 


Oleg Romanov

St Petersburg
Vice President of the Saint Petersburg Union of Architects, Director of Arkhitekturnaya masterskaya Romanova

«PROJECT BALTIA has given us access to countries that are our immediate neighbours. Our architects are little known abroad – even though we have people who are no less talented than architects in the West. This journal is an opportunity for us to convey more information about what is going on in our country to the professional community abroad. Another important aspect is that, without trespassing on the territory of other media, PROJECT BALTIA has added seriousness and depth of coverage to the range of architectural publications in this field. We had been dreaming of having our own specialist architectural journal in St Petersburg, and now we have it» 


Vilen Kunnapu

Architect and artist

«We live in interesting times. The world is changing. It was only yesterday that it seemed we all existed quite separately from one another, but today we can’t help being aware of a force that is about to unite the world. This force has a spiritual dimension, and through it we are once again becoming part of a single universe. The idea of cross-border regionalism is part of this unifying process. And from this point of view PROJECT BALTIA is contemporary and topical. Personally, I have always felt a kind of affinity between North-West Russia, Finland, and the Baltic countries. As a young student, I often took the train to Leningrad to visit the Hermitage and see van Gogh, Gauguin, and Matisse. This city’s classical urban space made a powerful impression on me. My favourite parts of it were the Admiralty and St Isaac’s Cathedral. In Helsinki I enjoyed the Nordic Jugendstil and Lars Sonck. I met some well-known architects and artists there. Helsinki’s regularity and ponderousness captivated me. There too I felt a specifically Nordic metaphysics, an essential component of which, besides architecture, is the sea. Riga and Latvians have always fascinated me with their old-fashioned purity. Lithuania is a charming mix of national pride and love of nature, Catholicism and a healthy sense of humour.

I think the magazine is moving in the right direction, both conceptually and in terms of design. Future collaborations could also involve artists, philosophers, priests, and shamans. Together, we must find spaces that are richly sacral. To pass through the gates between dimensions requires great love and concern for our neighbours. Architecture will also, of course, go through radical changes in the near future. Today the decisive factor is technology, but in the future architects will once again discover myths and symbols through which to connect with the energy grid of the universe. Another significant aspect will be architects’ ability to rid themselves of excess ego, the spirit of rivalry, and a tendency for petty criticism. The world needs our love and dedication. We should remember Louis Kahn, who came from our part of the world: he never criticized anyone. He was a guru, teacher, and model for other creators. The warm energy of Konstantin Melnikov and Ivan Leonidov has also been a source of inspiration to us. The universe expects positive ideas from us, and nothing else» 


Alexander Skokan

Architect, director of byuro Ostozhenka

«I like the Baltic region, I have so many good impressions connected with it. It’s a kind of northern equivalent of the Mediterranean: it unites countries that are different but which possesses a culture that characterizes the region as a whole. I like visiting St Petersburg and Helsinki, and it’s a shame that the Baltic-Scandinavian style doesn’t ‘go down well’ in Moscow. It would be great if this culture spread slightly further to the south in order to reach us too. So a journal dedicated to the Baltic region is a much-needed enterprise. Keep up the good work» 


Christoph Kohl

Architect, a director of Krier and Kohl

«I think the future is in the regional. I like being a citizen of Europe, it’s convenient. But as for politics, many are sceptical about the USA. The same fate is in store for the EU. It just doesn’t work properly. We ought, I think, to be concentrating on the regions rather than on this idea of a Big Europe. The States possess a common history – even if it’s only a short one –and this unites the country. Whereas Europe’s strength lies precisely in its regions; it has no shared identity. It would be madness to consider the Portuguese and Romanians as people of the same ‘format’. Regionalism, though, works well. Sometimes it imparts to a particular territory an identity that is stronger than any national identity. In the past, it was important to identify yourself as French or Italian. Now, in a peaceful Europe regional rather than national identity is the more real, because in reality national identity is artificial – it is created by politicians. The Baltic region is undoubtedly one example of a strong regional identity, so it is entirely nature that a new journal should be published covering its architecture» 


Sergey Padalko

St Petersburg
Architect, a director of Vitruvius and Sons

«PROJECT BALTIA is a fine journal. It is, sadly, one of the very few good-quality serious architectural publications in our country. I think it is a very necessary one. If I might quote Leon Battista Alberti, author of Ten Books on Architecture: “If on the central square of a town you erect a hideous building, the children of this town will be born ugly.” PROJECT BALTIA is making every effort to prevent such buildings being built. I would recommend everyone to get involved in this good cause. Of course, the climate leaves its mark on architects’ thought processes and on clients’ mentality. This makes it quite understandable for the journal to have a regional character. I would, though, like PROJECT BALTIA to become more critical in the future as opposed to merely descriptive and informative» 

Opening Week of the 5th Architecture Biennale will take place from September 11th – 15th, 2019 in multiple venues in the heart of Tallinn. Dedicated to the theme “Beauty Matters: The Resurgence of Beauty”, the international architecture festival, organised by the Estonian Centre for Architecture and curated by Dr. Yael Reisner, celebrates the aesthetic experience in architecture, after almost 80 years of cultural bias.

The only foreigner to take part in the series of architecture talks entitled ‘Genius loci’ (organized by Project Baltia and the ‘Novaya Gollandiya: cultural urbanization’ project) was the Finnish theoretician Juhani Pallasmaa. Russian readers know Pallasmaa from his book ‘The thinking hand. Existential and embodied wisdom in architecture’, which is now a bibliographical rarity. Here Marina Nikiforova talks to Finland’s principal architect-thinker.

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