Photographer's Note

The city that has the highest concentration of buildings in Art Noveau style in the world is not Paris, Brussels or Vienna, but Riga, the capital of Latvia (or Latvia) and that is one of the reasons why it is registered as a World Heritage of UNESCO (the other reason, the medieval Old City, will be the subject of a future post).

More than 750 modernist buildings (more than a third of the central area) populate several parts of this Nordic city and even entire neighborhoods belong to this style, so walking through the superb Rigi urban landscape gives one sometimes the impression of having transported in time until the beginning of the 20th century. But the value of the Art Noveau architecture in Riga lies not only in aesthetic factors, but also helped forge the nationalist current that would finally give Latvia its independence.

The extraordinary transformation of Riga in the late nineteenth century thanks to the boom in real estate construction that took place between 1896 and 1913, and especially the creative freedom expressed in the facades of the buildings, shows the optimism and prosperity of the city and its good economic moment. It should be noted that at that time this Baltic city, like all of Latvia, were part of imperial Russia.

The Jugendstil style (young style), as it was called in the Germanic countries to Art Noveau, owes its name to the Munich journal Die Jugend, which disseminated and popularized this style that sought to give plastic expressiveness to everyday objects.

Despite the influence of Munich, most of the buildings in Riga were designed and built by local architects graduated from the Riga Polytechnic Institute, although some German, Austrian and Finnish architects also participated.

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La ciudad que cuenta con la mayor concentracin de edificios en estilo Art Noveau en el mundo no es Pars, Bruselas o Viena, sino Riga, la capital de Letonia (o Latvia) y esa es una de las razones porque se halla inscrita como Patrimonio Mundial de la UNESCO.

Ms de 750 edificios modernistas (ms de un tercio del rea central) pueblan varias partes de esta ciudad nrdica y hasta barrios enteros pertenecen a este estilo, por lo que caminar por el soberbio paisaje urbano rigus le da a uno a veces la impresin de haberse transportado en el tiempo hasta principios del siglo XX. Pero el valor de la arquitectura Art Noveau en Riga radica no slo en factores estticos, sino que adems contribuy a forjar la corriente nacionalista que finalmente le dara a Letonia su independencia.

La extraordinaria transformacin de Riga a finales del siglo XIX gracias al boom de construccin inmobiliaria que se dio entre 1896 y 1913, y sobre todo la libertad creativa expresada en las fachadas de los edificios, da cuenta del optimismo y prosperidad de la ciudad y su buen momento econmico. Cabe resaltar que en esa poca esta ciudad bltica, como toda Letonia, eran parte de la Rusia imperial.

El estilo Jugendstil (estilo joven), como se llam en los pases germnicos al Art Noveau, debe su nombre a la revista muniquesa Die Jugend, que difundi y populariz este estilo que buscaba dar expresividad plstica a los objetos cotidianos.

A pesar de la influencia de Mnich, la mayora de los edificios en Riga fueron diseados y construidos por arquitectos locales graduados en el Instituto Politcnico de Riga, aunque tambin participaron algunos arquitectos alemanes, austriacos y finlandeses.


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Additional Photos by Luis Garcia (adramad) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 7669 W: 5 N: 13395] (59680)
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