Due to the geographical character of the Baltic region, the theme of urban waterfront development is one which crops up constantly in our journal. It wasn’t so long ago that we had an issue entitled ‘Shoreline’ (2011), and now we’re once more writing about architecture by the water’s edge. Back in 2011, it seemed obvious that waterfront areas would become the urban frontline, the battleground for a clash between the most progressive architectural concepts and the most serious investment interests.
The quickening pulse of events relating to development of waterside areas has compelled us once more to turn to the border between wet and dry. We can now see that events do not always meet expectations: in addition to the new buildings published in our Reality section (p. 65 forwards), there are ambitious projects which have been cancelled or frozen indefinitely. The closing of the European Embankment project in St Petersburg (p. 48) will have upset many people (and delighted others, no doubt). A similarly important piece of waterfront in the centre of Helsinki, the South Harbour, stands in frozen expectation, the development process having stalled. In spite of the recent competition for ideas to develop this area (p. 42), no one, it seems, has any clear understanding of what will happen here. In the section entitled ‘Visions’ (p. 37 forwards) we publish not merely designs that have remained unrealized (even if in some cases they are the work of well-known architects), but also examples of true ‘paper architecture’ [i.e. architecture whose primary nature is conceptual], works which show us the path into the future.
The Floating Barn (see the cover of this issue) is seen by its creators, NRJA (Riga), as a possible new type of residential module – one which is ecological, inexpensive to build, and capable of adapting to climatic changes.
Vladimir Frolov - editor of Project Baltia
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 18 is about Shoreline.