Photo by building Works Unit

Riga Technical University International Summer School «Arcadia» for architects, designers and urbanists that concluded in August produced several spatial installations in the Pirtsupite Valley in Cesis and an alternative tourism map.

Editorial Evelīna Ozola August 31, 2015

The Summer School is an intensive two–week course where the participants get to experience a full project cycle: defining and analysing a problem, creating and testing a concept, material research and prototyping, building a structure and seeing it used by people.

Being close to nature is an essential part of the identity of Cēsis, and with the theme of Arcadia we intended to encourage the participants of the Summer School to decode the obvious and hidden qualities of the local landscape, place them within a larger ecosystem and the collective memory, suggest strategies and design structures for public use in the Pirtsupite Valley. This time, 36 students from 18 countries took part and worked in three units.

Nature observatory

The architecture and building works unit designed and built a lookout tower «Wild Thing». Due to its A and V shaped timber legs the structure appears itself as a strange creature walking out form behind the trees in the southern part of Pirtsupite Valley. It houses a small cabin space 4.5 m above the ground with two benches suitable for 6 people to sit. Two of the cabin walls can be opened up balanced on counterweights transforming the cabin from a secluded space to a lookout tower open to its surroundings. «Wild Thing» is clad in recycled black rubber shingles, and old railway sleepers were reused as foundations. The tower has a timber structure including geometrically complex ‘A’ and ‘V’ frame legs.

Tutors: Niklāvs Paegle (Latvia), Thomas Randall–Page (UK), Theodore Molloy (UK).

The Missing Map

The urbanism and research unit turned their attention to tourism: the ways it alters the local landscape and new types of travelling that are emerging today. By studying the maps and leaflets available at the Cēsis Tourism Information Centre, the team realised that the railway cuts Cesis into two parts; one side has been shaped by tourism while the other is still intact. The team travelled to the east side of the railway, a territory they named Cēsis–2, and discovered an array of alternative destinations. «The Missing Map» was printed in 2000 copies and distributed among the residents and visitors of Cēsis.

Tutors: Błażej Czuba (Poland), Matīss Groskaufmanis (Latvia), Monika Grūzīte (Latvia).

Ethereal Nature

Through material research and prototype building the architecture and art team worked towards creating a series of delicate spatial structures that help the spectator get closer to their own personal Arcadia. «Ethereal Nature» is a collection of land art objects that play with the physical properties of wind and water in the Pirtsupite Valley. The water installation is a spiky, shiny object that lures the visitor deeper into the wilderness while the wind installation lets one imagine a fleet of sailing ships sliding through the fog or reminds of the legend about flying lakes looking for a place to land.

Tutors: Austris Mailītis (Latvia), Reiji Kobayashi (Japan), Andra Odumāne (Latvia).

The installation «Wild Thing» built during the Summer School remains open for public in Pirtsupite Valley. More information on Riga Technical University International Summer School is available on its website and Facebook page.


FOLD in collaboration with Riga Technical University.


State Culture Capital Foundation, State Education Development Agency, Cesis Municipality, «Rotho Blaas», «Pavasars», «Direct» and «», «Ķelmēni», «Cēsu alus», «Eži».