Since the beginning of the 20th century the modern architects began to observe the city and its architecture from high above in the sky. Models showed the impact of their architecture on the surroundings. They structured territories as if it was important to make them look good from above. The architecture often lost its human scale to the architect who slavishly performed this way of designing. This happened to the great annoyance of the other architect – the one who wanted to incorporate all his ideas of the human-nature relationship. However, if we compare Latvia with other European countries in that time, we observe that the relationship nature-man was having a greater influence than in the West. It can even be said that modernism in Latvia was all about the connection between nature and man. Architecture for the people and not the birds.
As time passed, this thought evolved in a different direction. Modernism now stands for planning from above by a top-down system and for formalizing this in large-scale planning units. Unfortunately, this trend is still present among architects who themselves strangely enough are critisizing modernism. A pity, because good modernist architecture insisted on the connections among all the different scales. This can be seen in the way squares, entrance canopies, paths, etc… were designed.
Nowadays, the models are replaced by the computer. Easy-to-use 3D programs are stimulating the architecture for the bird. The bird misleads the men as his view angle is much wider. But the developer likes this. It’s more impressive. Wasn’t that exactly the same way the Soviet government tried to overwhelm the public?
Architectural commisions are always asking a visual representation of the project in its surroundings. This is one of the key elements in Latvian architecture. In 99% of the projects it is solved with the famous bird perspective. Often this also happens to be the main image of the project. Other non-human viewpoints mostly complete the story. Almost no architectural project today is represented from the eye height with a correct perspective. As started in times of modernism, it is still going on.
Anyway, it will be the bird who will be able to admire how well the building is integrated in the surroundings.