Shock of the new in Riga

Shock of the new in Riga

During my travels through the Baltic states, I write short observations.

The historic center of the Latvia’s capital, Riga, is charming, with cobbled streets, beautifully kept parks and imposing churches. Nothing, therefore, prepared me for the surprise of coming face to face with a strikingly sculptural and hypermodern red brick apartment building, between two medieval churches.  This is the new face of Riga. Read the article…

World’s highest pyramids in Estonia – made of waste

World’s highest pyramids in Estonia – made of waste

This is going to be the first tax optimalization landscape in Europe, maybe even in the world. It will be in a remote corner of Europe, in the northeast of Estonia, in the town of Aidu near the Russian border. Other than the country’s usual lakes and forests (about half of Estonia is covered with trees) Aidu has one unique selling point: 20 meters under the limestone in the ground, there is oil shale. To get to it, the mines have exploded tons of limestone. With this waste product, architecture firm KTA has created an impressive landscape of sculpted pyramids, ancient and futuristic at the same time. Read the article…

Architectural Record: Dutch Treat

Architectural Record: Dutch Treat

For the June edition of Architectural Record I went to the new Generator Amsterdam. This mix of a hotel and a hostel is  located on the edge of a park in the up-and-coming eastern part of town, this reflects the spread of tourism beyond the historic center – a trend that has been encouraged by the city, which has been greatly restricting hotel permits since the fall of 2013.

With its surprising combination of old and new architecture, bursts of local art and design, and a clever hotel formula that attracts a wide-ranging crowd. Generator has brought a new kind of flair to Amsterdam’s flourishing tourism scene. 

Read the article…

The Travels of Kaufmann’s Office

The Travels of Kaufmann’s Office

The director of Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1937 iconic house Fallingwater, Lynda Waggoner, recently spoke at the John Adams Institute. Two of our staunch followers, Rick and Marga Donehoo, told me later that they had seen the office that Wright designed in that same year for Fallingwater’s owner, Pittsburgh department store magnate Edgar Kaufmann, in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Kaufmann used the office until his death in 1955. It is now the only complete, original FLW interior in Europe. But how did the office from Pittsburgh end up in London?   Read the article…