Towards Liberty of Thought


  • Reinis Saliņš
  • Igors Malovickis


Žanis Lipke, learning centre, freedom of speech, architecture, belonging, permanence, spatial mutations


Can newly built structures embody and endure the uniqueness of past nobility? This idea of permanence, and therefore of time, inevitably confronts us as we introduce ourselves to the manifesto of an architectural competition for a future learning centre, the House of Courage. The manifesto envisions the centre’s planned programme and its mission to strengthen our youth’s ability to resist automatic stereotypes and to promote the persistence of humane ideals in times of hardship. The genesis for this noble idea in a specific location on Mazais Balasta dambis can be traced back to a historic act of courage that contains an emotional dimension still present within the fragile urban context of Ķīpsala island, Riga. This extraordinary act of unselfishness is an event that deserves an empathetic and architectural continuation of its nobility, yet the amplitude with which the knowledge is intended to be passed on contradicts the intimacy of the place. Our decision to take part and tackle the apparent duality of the competition task forms an irreducible opposition that guides us in our eventual work, where we seek spatial genuineness and tireless approximation. A new space for education must be able to strengthen the character of the place and avoid certain peculiarities of public typologies that risk surrendering the authentic nature of the nearby setting. To respond to ideological unpredictability, we seek to study the principles discussed in object-oriented ontology (OOO) that permit the act of architectural decentralization to dismantle any form of spatial and moral hierarchy between human and nonhuman objects. In the pursuit of liberty of thought, it is the aura of the place that becomes the basis for the revelation of courage hidden within each of us. The following body of text reflects on our thoughts about belonging to a place and time and serves as a guide to our work methodology, which ultimately resulted in a proposal for the House of Courage.

Author Biographies

Reinis Saliņš

Reinis Saliņš and Igors Malovickis are a duo of architects operating between Basel and Riga and co-founders of studio substrata. Both have received Bachelor’s degrees in Architecture from the Faculty of Architecture and Design (FAD) at RISEBA University. Reinis has previously co-founded architectural studio SPOT arhitekti and worked at KCAP Architects&Planners in Zürich while Igors leads urban data platform Citify Riga. Both are actively involved in ARHITEKSTI Foundation.

Igors Malovickis

The artistic approach of studio substrata is based on surveying and building upon the ever-present sub-layer of knowledge. Both Reinis and Igors use it as a medium to investigate weak architecture, the possible coexistence of material and nonmaterial objects, spatial mathematics as well as industrial design and prefabricated houses. They have explored the nine-square grid composition in a family residence house for a Pastor and house for a Builder I and II as well as the four-square grid composition in Viba’s sauna, lost artefact and a family residence five atmospheres.