Project Baltia is a professional journal covering architecture, urban planning, and design in North-West Russia, Finland, and the Baltic states.
The journal was founded in 2007 by architecture critic Vladimir Frolov and Dutch architect Bart Goldhoorn. It is published in St Petersburg. Project Baltia is an international and regional publication. The editors select the best works by architects and designers, as well as texts by the most influential architecture critics from the five countries of the Baltic region.
Issue 17 is about Motion.
Suddenly everyone has realized that there are too many cars on our roads and that this is a bad thing. The Mayor of Tallinn has decided to make public transport free of charge; Helsinki has created a cycle route right through the city centre and begun building a new metro line; the Lithuanians have erected a true elegy to pedestrian movement (the Zarasai Circular Walkway); and St Petersburg has started thinking hard about its transport situation. It is surprising that understanding of this problem has come only now, when we are dangerously close to transport collapse. According to Professor Vukan Vuchic from Pensilvania University, “a city which is totally addicted to automobiles becomes non-functional, inefficient, and inconvenient to live in” (p. 26). This is only too obviously so – and yet we continue to build new car factories in the city on the Neva.
The logic by which the modern world develops is acceleration: the neurotic speeding up of all processes in the life of society. The acceleration of particles in the Giant Hadron Collider in an attempt to capture the God particle; a human being jumping from the stratosphere and flying towards the earth at supersonic speed. As the philosopher Paul Virilio has written, the logic of speed is always the logic of war. In addition to acceleration, Virilio also identifies a second, parallel process – an obsessive fluctuating movement which is lacking in purposeful direction. Airports, those places where we come closest of all to the maximum speed that we can develop, are paradoxically one of the slowest places on earth. To be precise, they are a ‘non-place’; they have no territorial identity – and we spend all our time in them drifting from cafes to the duty free and back again, endlessly, until finally we board the airplane and are transported into another, but just as crepuscular space.
Vladimir Frolov - editor of Project Baltia