the concept here

RIGA, 12-13 MARCH, 2015
Rationale and background
The conference “Heritage, Contemporary Architecture and Design in Interaction” will
be held during Latvia’s presidency of the Council of the European Union is
organised by the State Inspection for Heritage protection of Latvia and Ministry of
Culture of Latvia, supported and co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of
the European Union. Latvia would like to encourage a discussion about quality in the
development of the cultural and historical environment.
A European city stands out on the backdrop of its global counterparts due to its
characteristic focus on the past for inspiration and due to its application of the
symbols of the past, rather than replication.
Globalisation increasingly leads us to establish mutually strengthening strategies so
as to prevent gaps between contemporary architecture, design and heritage, thus
protecting and preserving Europe’s overall identity and facilitating the sustainable
and high-quality development of societies and living spaces.
Council conclusion 2014/C 183/08 on cultural heritage as a strategic resource for a
sustainable Europe states that cultural heritage as a non-renewable resource that is
unique, non-replaceable or non-interchangeable is currently confronted with
important challenges related to cultural, environmental, social, economic and
technological transformations that affect all aspects of contemporary life.
Council conclusion 2008/C 319/05) on the subject of architecture as a field that
contributes toward sustainable development states that it is necessary to pay
particular attention to architectural quality and diversity as aspects of cultural
diversity, to heritage conservation and enhancement and to the individual identity of
natural or urban landscapes, and facilitating the sustainable urban development.
Council resolution of 12 February 2001 on architectural quality in urban and rural
environments recognises the need to foster the quality of contemporary architecture
as it constitutes the heritage of tomorrow, by fostering exchange of experience and
information in the field of architecture.
At the same time, it has to be said that, regardless of the latest trend of recognising
the heritage-based design in highlighting the unique European values and fostering
competitiveness, the role of design in the emphasising of heritage environmental
values and the strengthening of the importance thereof have not been discussed
and reinforced in policy processes that relate to cultural heritage. Similarly,
professionals in the field of protecting cultural heritage still do not have an
unambiguous view about the role of contemporary architecture and design in the
preservation and utilisation of cultural heritage.
The conclusions of the Vilnius conference “Cultural Heritage and the EU-2020
strategy – towards an integrated approach”, organised during the Lithuanian
presidency, invited the Member States to seek synergies of heritage policies with
policies in other areas through dialogue and stimulating cooperation networks.
People always wished to live and work in a comfortable, rational and aesthetically
valuable environment, which inspires, supplements and creates a special mood. It is
a place with the past. Nevertheless the environment in which we live is not frozen. It
changes constantly, sometimes tearing down what previous generations have
created. Today cultural and historical values are threatened not only by natural
deterioration, but even more by human wish to replace old for new.
When it comes to the philosophy of heritage preservation, it is important to achieve
a balanced and quality-oriented co-existence of heritage and the transformation of
the contemporary spatial environment without diminishing the role of development,
but creating higher added value. Studying the relationship between cultural heritage,
contemporary architecture and environmental design might be the key to successful
development cultural heritage sector.
Aims and objectives
Council conclusion 2014/C 183/08 calls for the strengthening of the importance of
cultural heritage in terms of sustainable development, particularly focusing on
projects that relate to urban and rural environmental planning, transformation and
Because of this, the organisers of the conference wish to raise awareness of and
promote a discussion about the quality of the development of the heritage
environment, also focusing on the role of contemporary architecture and design in
supplementing and emphasising existing values. The organisers of the conference
want to promote a better dialogue and mutual understanding between the main
partners in the field of cultural heritage. This includes owners of cultural monuments,
architects, builders, designers, investors, planning specialists, local governments,
local residents and civil society organisations.
At the same time, the aim of the conference is to spark off a debate among experts
from these sectors in Europe, along with fostering a harmonious co-existence of
various opinions, about the main principles in the field of cultural heritage,
contemporary architecture and high-quality design. Interaction of these principles
corresponds to the intentions of the Europe 2020 strategy in terms of smart,
sustainable and inclusive development that basically leads to the main goal – the
quality of human life.
Detailed description
The conference is organised in the framework of the creative week CREATE! as one
of three cultural conferences under the auspices of the Latvia’s presidency of the
Council of the European Union. The conference is intended as a necessary and
illustrative continuation of the cultural policy conference focussing on the cultural
transfer to other industries.
Theoretical discussions and practical examples will focus attention during the
conference on the following topics:
Contemporary architecture and design in the historical urban environment –
the scope and nature of construction and the mood of the environment;
Contemporary architecture and design in cultural and historical rural
The consistent sense of authenticity in the relationship between cultural
heritage and contemporary architecture;
Contemporary environmental design in cultural and historical environment –
benefits and threats.
On the grounds of the aforementioned priorities, the topics of papers that will be
delivered and the discussions at the conference will focus on the following issues:
Does the development of contemporary architecture in urban and cultural
environment endanger cultural heritage? Under what circumstances can
threats be forecasted? Will we be in a situation in 100 years from now in
which the authentic mood of historical medieval cities can no longer be
How do requirements related to protection of cultural heritage influence the
quality of contemporary architecture?
What is our attitude towards
reproductions, copies and replications of historical styles in modern
Does the presence of contemporary design hinder the mood of the cultural
and historical environment?
What are the examples of the best practices of interaction among cultural
heritage, contemporary architecture and design?
What mistakes have been made in terms of ambitions related to
contemporary architecture which have destroyed cultural heritage? What
have we learned from these mistakes?
What is the role in the development of spatial environment and cultural
heritage in increasing mutual understanding and relation between the
authorities of cultural heritage, planners, architects, artists, developers and
other stakeholders in this regard? Are there any other alternatives?
What has to be done to facilitate a balanced interaction between cultural
heritage, contemporary architecture and design – in order to create added
value for the environment and improve the quality of life? Should such
interaction be encouraged?
In order to raise public awareness and dialogue about the issues discussed during
the conference, as well as in support of Latvia’s objective to run a paperless
presidency, the organisers plan to collect ideas from all the conference participants
on the topics of the conference for publishing along with other relevant material,
heritage policy and related documents. A virtual exhibition will be prepared
presenting best examples from Latvian architecture on the conference topic. The
conference guests, students from relevant Universities, as well other interested
persons will be encouraged to reflect the conference debate via social networks.
The online broadcasting will be ensured during the conference.
In order to achieve the goal of the conference, the organizers of the conference
have addressed internationally recognised experts from Latvia and abroad in the
field of cultural heritage, architecture and design, both theorists and practitioners.
This will create a theoretical basis for discussions, as well as examples for
evaluation and inspiration. Given that recent cultural heritage policy documents have
emphasised the promotion of best practices and the need for evidence and
comparative experience, the organisers of the conference will try to ensure the
presence of the most highly qualified experts from the sector.
At the same time the Latvian design will be represented in the exhibition “Design
Manifestation. Information” in the Art Academy of Latvia, ground floor exhibition hall.
The exhibition will present Latvian contemporary design products and services and
demonstrate how design “tools” can help to offer improved solutions to economic,
social and environmental problems. Various aspects of Latvian graphic design will
be represented: packaging, identity, publication design, digital, service, process and
advertising design, as well as new media.
Simultaneously by the request of the Ministry of Culture Dr.Arch Jānis Lejnieks in
cooperation with SIA ”Fotocentrs” is preparing an exhibition about promotion of
national architectural policy “New in old. Latvia”. The exhibition will be available to
all conference members.
With the intention to give an insight in the values of the Historic Centre of Riga, its
preservation and development processes, the conference will start with the two hour
site visit – with the bus tour and on foot. Furthermore, in order to present
distinguished example of renovation and preservation, as well as give a chance to
visit an outstanding baroque monument of architecture and art, the guests will be
invited to Rundāle palace for an evening meal.
Target audience
The Conference will gather official representatives of the EU Member States,
European policy makers, heritage experts, architects, builders, designers, investors,
spatial planners, local governments, local residents and civil society organisations.
In order to achieve the maximum audience as well provide with the information as
wide audience as possible the live online broadcast as well the video record after
the conference will be ensured.
Target outcome
One of the most important expected results for the conference will be
implementation of the principles mentioned in the call in the European Commission
Communication “Towards an integrated approach to cultural heritage for Europe” for
finding ways of facilitating the modernisation of heritage in the sector, raising
awareness, and involving new target audiences.
One of the aims is to spark off a debate among experts from the sector in Europe
and promote co – existence of different views on the principles in ensuring
interaction between contemporary architecture and design so as to facilitate the
plans of the Europe 2020 strategy in terms of ensuring sensible, sustainable and
inclusive development in order to lead to the main goal – the quality of human life.
The conference organisers aim at adopting a joint statement that will eventually be
integrated in the Council conclusions on cultural and creative crossovers to
stimulate innovation, economic sustainability and social inclusion.
European added value
On the basis of the importance of cultural heritage that has been defined in recent
cultural heritage policy documents in terms of the EU 2020 strategy, the aim to
identify smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, the conference will make a
contribution towards raising awareness of the sustainable and long-term values of
cultural heritage, as well as ways to facilitate an integrated and innovative approach
towards the preservation and use of cultural heritage. The organisers of the
conference look forward that the principles will both facilitate a lively and balanced
debate, find its way, potentially, into the Council conclusions, as well as will make a
contribution towards the preservation of the heritage all over Europe, also ensuring
the sensible use and high-quality development thereof.