Linda Leitāne's opening address at the conference RIXARCH 2024


The International Architectural Design Conference RIXARCH 2024, organised by the RISEBA University Faculty of Architecture, takes place on 12–13 April at the RISEBA Architecture and Media Centre H2O 6. Linda Leitāne, Chairperson of the Board of the Latvian Association of Architects, was invited to give the opening address, published below.

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is an privilege to stand before you today to celebrate architectural excellence. For a century the members of the Association of Architects in Latvia has shaped our built environment, fostering innovation and celebrating the resilience, creativity, and passion for architecture.

As I reflect on this journey, it's essential to acknowledge the blind spots in our history. The experiences of Latvian architects during World War II and their subsequent exile represent one such blind spot. Despite the challenges they faced, these architects preserved their passion and dedication to their craft, carried a deep love for their homeland, holding onto cherished memories of Latvia like precious treasures. yet their stories have sometimes been sidelined in our collective memory.

it was in the late '80s, with the winds of change sweeping across Eastern Europe, these architects like Gunnars Birkerts, Andris Roze and Astra Zariņa, returned to their childhood country. Their return was not only physical but spiritual, poetic  and emotional, reconnecting with their roots and infusing Latvia with their unique perspectives and experiences from afar.

Today, we also honor the collaborative spirit that defines our architectural community. Through joint event organization with the RISEBA Faculty of Architecture and Association of Architects in Latvia and many more we foster dialogue, share knowledge, and forge partnerships that transcend borders.

The ongoing exhibition honoring architect Astra Zariņa and her esteemed students, including Steven Holl, exemplifies this spirit of collaboration. Their groundbreaking contributions to architecture have not only inspired us but have also pushed the boundaries of creativity and innovation, leaving a mark on our profession.

I express my deepest gratitude to the conference organizers for their dedication and tireless efforts in bringing us together today., And also to participants who have joined from near and far. Your presence enriches discussions and reaffirms commitment to advancing the art and science of architecture in Latvia and beyond.

As we look to the future, let us draw strength from the past, honoring the legacy of those who came before us; let us shine a light on these blind spots, acknowledge them and learn from them. Together, we can continue to shape an environment that reflects our values, aspirations, and collective dreams for generations to come.

Thank you.