On 4 August 2017, the pavilion of the Baltic Architects Union Association (BAUA) was opened at the world congress organized by the International Union of Architects in Seoul (South Korea). The pavilion was built according to designs by young Lithuanian architects Jonas Lideikis and Tomas Skripkiūnas and became one of the most visited pavilions in the exposition.
The pavilion is a pleasure not only to the eyes but also to the ears of visitors. “The city milieu is created through the interactions of people, their speech,” the authors explain. When a visitor enters, the sound system installed on the ceilings of the pavilion broadcasts the phrases of everyday conversations in the Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian languages. Every time the sensors detect a new visitor, an additional soundtrack is activated. Therefore, the more people enter the pavilion, the noisier and louder the environment becomes – full of Baltic languages reminiscent of a living city.
The laconic visual concept of the pavilion balances the multilingual soundscape. The wooden walls are decorated by musical postcards. These postcards show photographs and drawings of thirty buildings, public spaces, installations, drawings and related information from designs from the last 2–3 years in the Baltic States. Each Baltic State presented 10 projects that have won awards or have otherwise been recognized.
Each postcard contains a phrase in Lithuanian, Estonian or Latvian related to the presented building as well as a translation of the phrase into Korean and English. Upon pressing the button hidden in the postcard, the visitor can hear a recording of the phrase in a Baltic language: the most diligent visitors will be able to learn to say these phrases.
“Without doubt, the BAUA pavilion stands out against the pavilions of the other countries and organizations with posters containing lots of pictures and texts,” explains Rūta Leitanaitė, President of the Lithuanian Union of Architects and BAUA. “Moderate, quiet aesthetics attract the eye with visual information in an overloaded environment. Visitors are also intrigued by the linguistic aspect used to connect the architecture and the city identity as well as the personal experience.”
“This is the fourth BAUA pavilion designed by Lithuanian, Estonian and Latvian unions of architects for UIA congresses. At previous congresses, which took place in Tokyo (2011) and Durban (2014), the BAUA pavilion was installed according to Estonian projects. This time, the Lithuanians designed the pavilion; however, the pavilion consistently follows similar values and qualities. It is a pleasure to see that architects from the Baltic States share the same mentality,” – said Katrin Koov, President of the Estonian Union of Architects. “I am also very glad that the artists from the Baltic States implement international projects together,” added Peteris Vaivars, Latvian ambassador in South Korea.
The UIA XXVI congress taking place on 2‒11 September is dedicated to the theme “Soul of the City” and discusses what forms the individuality, attractiveness, and vitality of the city, the love residents have for their city, and how architecture contributes to this. The list of events that taking place during the week includes lectures, discussions, and creative workshops, idea contests for students, awards and an international architecture exhibition. Each country, as a member of the UIA, was able to install an architectural exposition in the joint exhibition.
The idea for the BAUA pavilion was selected during an architectural idea competition. The participants from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania had to offer an exposition concept (installation and content) and a souvenir to be given to each visitor. An international jury evaluated 16 projects submitted for the competition.