The YEAR 2019

Summer School on the Ephemeral Architecture and Urban Design “FestivaL’and 2.0”
Dates: July 25 – Aug 2, 2019
Duration: 9 days
Location: Valmiera city, Latvia

The summer school is organized as a cooperation between RISEBA Faculty of Architecture and Design and Valmiera Summer Theatre festival (VVTF) The VVTF has so far three years of experience in discovering the city spaces for theatre performance. By joining the forces with RISEBA University of Applied Sciences the plans to generate more ambitious ideas and construct the festival village in the center of Valmiera has resulted in the cooperation to organize the summer school already for a second year. The summer school is devoted to the idea of the contemporary ephemeral architecture and urban design elements as catalysts for important shifts in the urban environment.

Concept of 2019 – Playful and living city. Social diversity and inclusivity are fundamental aspects of any thriving city. Architecture and urban design play key roles in nurturing these characteristics. Majority of urban spaces, however, are built on somewhat pragmatic principles and outdated understanding of social structures and therefore often fail to efficiently address the needs of today’s cities and their inhabitants.

Playful city sets out to seek new directions for shaping future social spaces, focusing on children within the city and ways in which different age groups could mutually benefit from the interaction. A traditional urban space would consist of one part that is dedicated to adults and a fenced-off area with a swing and a slide for children – a playground. The playful city would be a different environment that encourages any person to engage in playful behavior. The traditional model gives clear signals that, for example, a 'grown-up' should sit there, and a kid should slide there. In contrast, the Playful city allows anyone to freely find their own meanings and uses for the setting, and take an active part in forming the social space of the city.
Anyone taking a closer look at the behavior of children would soon come to the conclusion that it is not the brightly colored standardized equipment of a playground that the kids crave. It is first and foremost the freedom to act, to be in an environment that they are allowed to engage independently and have permission to explore on their own terms. Any space that occasionally can fit this description (for example a garden, a large atrium, an exhibition space or an abandoned industrial area) will spark the playful behavior. Can we, as architects and designers, create an environment that respects children in the same way as any other member of the society, without creating fixed action patterns? Can we create an environment that encourages playfulness in adults and allow new, more varied and efficient use of public space? In the occasion of Valmiera Summer Theatre festival, which is dedicated to children and families in 2019, the participants of the summer school were invited to imagine and build festival’s center – a public space for all ages that stimulates interaction and creativity. A testing ground for the ideas of Playful city.

The summer school was led by the international and local team of designers and invited professionals: architect Kārlis Melzobs (LV), set designer and carpenter Rudolf Bekic (LV/AT), theatre director and set designer Reinis Suhanovs (LV), architect Dina Suhanova (LV). Participants of the summer school receive 3 ECTS and a certificate confirming the participation.

The program of the summer school HERE.


International architecture student workshop "Wooden architecture heritage of Aizpute" will be held from May 9 to 12, 2019 in Aizpute. Workshop will identify the values and propose development of the wooden architecture heritage of Aizpute town – cityscape, street landscape, materials, colour schemes, signs and details. Participants from RISEBA, Vilnius Art Academy Klaipeda faculty, Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies (landscape architects), Riga Technical University will take part in the four-day programme.

The workshops will be led by invited experts and tutors: architect Malin Belfrage (White Architects, Sweden), Dr.arch. Jana Jākobsone (City architect of Kuldīga), Dr.arch. Jānis Lejnieks (RISEBA, chief editor of magazine “Latvijas Architektūra”), Jānis Kreicburgs (Skonto būve, RISEBA),, artist Martinas Lapas (VAA, Klaipeda faculty), Dr.arch., prof. Aija Ziemeļniece (LUoLST), Mg.arch. Egons Bērziņš (RTU), Dr.arch.h.c. Jānis Dripe (RISEBA).

The programme of the workshop here.

The YEAR 2018

“FestivaL’and” – RISEBA International summer school on the ephemeral architecture and urban design

Dates: July 24 – Aug 4, 2018
Duration: 12 days
Location: Valmiera city, Latvia

We think the summertime is for festivals! Students of architecture, urban design and related disciplines from all over the world were invited to RISEBA International summer school on the ephemeral architecture and urban design – “FestivaL’and”. The summer school was organized as a cooperation between RISEBA Faculty of Architecture and Design and Valmiera Summer Theatre festival (VVTF).

We invited students to get out of the auditorium, get acquainted with the varied cultural experience in Latvia and make new friends, but most importantly – apply their theoretical knowledge and develop the skills in constructing amazing ideas in scale 1:1. 

The summer school was devoted to the idea of the contemporary ephemeral architecture and urban design elements as catalysts for initially invisible but important processes of turns in the urban environments, perception, and usability of the city. Working in teams and workshops led by invited professionals as mentors we developed the ideas and build the festival city in the very center of Valmiera for VVTF visitors, locals and guests.

Mentors of the summer school: architect and stage designer DIDZIS JAUNZEMS, landscape architect and urbanist AIGARS LAUZIS, set designer and carpenter RUDOLF BEKIC, architect RALF LÕOKE, architect and printmaker MALGORZATA MARIA OLCHOWSKA, architect and furniture designer YORK BING OH, artist ANDRIS EGLITIS, theatre director and set designer REINIS SUHANOVS, architect DINA SUHANOVA.

Project manager and curator of the summer school: Dina Suhanova

Photo report HERE.
More information:

Video: Gatis Priednieks-Melnacis

The YEAR 2016

FAD and AVMM summer school TA_KA+ in Roja, Latvia

Read more here.