Ziemeļu nacionālais romantisms mūra īres namu arhitektūrā Rīgā. Arhitekts Aleksandrs Vanags
Nordic National Romanticism in the Architecture of Masonry Apartment Houses in Riga. Architect Aleksandrs Vanags
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The aim of this article is to introduce the reader to the residential houses designed by Aleksandrs Vanags (1873–1919) in the style of Nordic National Romanticism, looking at not just the textbook examples but also at less well known buildings. Vanags has left a considerable legacy in the architecture of Latvia. Some one hundred buildings were constructed after his designs during the peak of his activity from 1906 to 1914. These were mainly multi-storey apartment houses in Riga and around forty private and public buildings outside Riga. The buildings examined in the article illustrate the flourishing and decline of Nordic National Romanticism that prevailed in Vanags’ work until this trend was progressively supplanted by Neo-Classicism. The layout of premises and organisation of amenities in Vanags’ projects were realised in line with the requirements of the time by providing maximum sunlight in the rooms and a window in every household premise in the large many-room apartments. As the layout of premises is conditioned by the commissioner’s means as well as the form and position of the building plot, Vanags’ apartment houses feature both typical and very original solutions for the period. Bays and risalits were used to diversify the building layout in the city centre, often creating a different layout for each storey of the house. During the period of Nordic National Romanticism, building façades show a laconic approach to ornamentation, largely applying a flat décor, often complemented with contrasting materials and types of finish. In some cases geometric ornament plastered on the façades is enriched with individual glazed tiles or mosaic. Looking at the building volumes of masonry apartment houses, some especially popular construction elements stand out, such as circular corner bays with dome-shaped roofing or open balcony, the use of chamfered and diverse triangular gables and massive closed balconies.
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