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2000 | 1 | 155-163

Article title

LATVIAN ARCHITECTS IN SWEDEN, 1944-1991: WORK IN EXILE (Latviesu arhitekti Zviedrija. Darbs trimda. 1944-1991)


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After WW II, there was some 30 architects among the 5,000 Latvian refugees who had settled up in Sweden. There was a construction boom going on, and they quickly found work, given that professional contacts with Sweden had been established even before the war. Riga's young architects in the 1930s learned much about classical styles and less about the methods of functionalism. They appeared in Sweden at a time when the two different approaches to architecture - the retrospective and the functional - were becoming synthesized into Neo Empire style. The Latvian architects brought form-type ideas and compositional techniques that had been used in Sweden previously. Among them were a trend toward romantic and monumental construction forms, such as towers on city government buildings. A project to build a new city hall for Riga, the designer for which was influenced by the early-century town hall building of Stockholm, had not been completed when war came. The most significant work toward this direction is the city hall in Vesterosa, which was designed by M. Sanrna and S. Ahlbom. Also accomplished in the profession were Voldemars Vasilis (public buildings in Goetheborg) and Andrejs Legzdins (design publications in the journal Domus), among others. Educated in the traditions of style-based architecture but well aware of the architecture of functionalism, the young Latvian architects were forced to put their ideas into practice in emigration, on the other side of the Baltic Sea. Thus they made a permanent investment in the architecture of the Swedish state.


  • Janis Lejnieks, Editor-in-Chief, Magazine 'Latvijas Architektura', Mukusalas iela 41b, Riga LV-1004, Latvia


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