Working in an award winning architecture studio in Latvia

Ilina Cvetkova

Izkušnja: delo in mesto

At first I wanted to experience a difference approach towards architecture and find myself a studio that works on smaller scale projects. That is how I found the studio DJA architects in Riga, Latvia. Didzis Jaunzems Architecture, which is an award winning architecture studio focused on architecture, urban planning and design project development. Office is working on projects of different scales and typologies, and understands the importance of both overall shape and details in architecture. Projects are innovative and conceptual architecture that is based on place context and functional particularities.

In general, we were working on pavilions, detailed stage design, scenography, urban interventions and competitions. During the process we were always in contact with other professionals, we were traveling around, investigating and analyzing on sites as well.

I was sharing a flat with other two German girls that were studying medicine, in the city center.

The living costs in Riga, Latvia are very similar to Slovenian ones. The apartment search was not difficult in comparison to Paris or Berlin. The first week I was in an airbnb and during that time I was searching my long term apartment. I found it very easily. I don’t have any information about the student dormitory in Riga.

The younger people are friendly and more open, eager to help. I do have to mention that it would be harder to make a conversation with the elderly generation, if your mother language is not Latvian. The food, going out, all of the living expenses are affordable. If you are not a winter person I would not recommend spending the winter semester there since it can go down to minus 20 Celsius.

I was there only for one semester, my internship was finishing mid of March. I have to say that as soon my internship end, the pandemic began, so I have to say that the pandemic did not affect my internship. Overall I do recommend Latvia for a short working experience.

Scenografija za Mozartov Don Giovanni

Project year: 2019/ 2020

Location: Vienna, Austria

In collaboration with: DJA Architects

Type of project: Competition (1st Prize)

A concept proposal for the staging of Mozart’s Don Giovanni

When a lavish dinner party in the Commentator’s mansion is interrupted by the violent death of the host, the visitors and the servants found themselves mysteriously incapable of leaving the dining room. As time passes and they run out of food and water, panic and madness set it. The unsolved death of the autocratic paternal figure-the hitherto moral reference-activates a yet unknown force in the protagonists.

Soon everyone in the room becomes infected with the Don Giovanni syndrome- an unlimited desire that magnifies the individual obsessions and phobias.

In our concept, what was truly profound was the how this syndrome could take place in the material architectural world. Mozart’s Don Giovanni as a surreal thriller of modern Human condition.

The final representation contained a 1:20 realistic model of the stage design, a detailed presentation of each piece, movement and realistic visualizations. The process of the work included many collaborations with artists, designers, writers and other professionals.

It required a full dedication and preciseness as you would design a real scale building. The process required constant testing of the materials and working with 3d printers and CNC machines.