Latvia’s Riga Technical University International Summer School Allows Students to Build and Design Their Own Structure
To thrive, young architects need to build, not simply plan. The Riga Technical University International Summer School in Cesis, Latvia, provides just that experience, moving students from research through construction in a mere two weeks. And in doing so, the program aims at enhancing the local community, too.
During the school’s 2016 session, architects Theodore Molloy, Niklavs Paegle, and Thomas Randall-Page—operating under the moniker Building Works Unit—led 13 international students in building Night Train, a kinetic events pavilion. Everyone collaborated to conceive and fine-tune the structure, crafted from locally sourced pine. The project is part of a larger plan to turn the site, a defunct former brewery, into a community center and hub for science and the arts.
Night Train comprises a timber-slat cuboid carriage that serves different functions—including lantern- like light source—as it slides along a 43-foot-long elevated track. At one end, the track forms a table for meetings and meals; at the other, it morphs into a viewing platform overlooking a park. For the opening ceremony, which the architects thought of as a “handing over” to the community, the carriage hosted a DJ booth, entertaining dancing crowds below.