THE LIVING BOOM
The Lithuanian city of Nida offers a new public space for its residents and visitors. The largest city at the Curonian Spit has been the centre of this years European Architecture Students Assembly. Within two weeks a team of 18 international architecture students completed a public space titled The Living Boom. This 50 m2 large public living room is located at the end of a pier, situated in the Curonian lagoon with views to the famous sand dunes, the forest and the city of Nida. The space is sheltered behind a giant wooden wall through which every visitor has to step in order to find oneself in a red, outwardly space.
The Living Boom was opened by members of the municipality of Nida. Since its first day the public space has attracted many visitors from different nations and generations, who have used The Living Boom in various ways. Especially local fishermen are making themselves comfortable in the early morning hours, practicing their routine within this new setting and novel home. The public space managed to merge two contrasting environments – the cosy feeling of a living room with the harsh conditions of the surrounding nature, creating a unique play between the room and the nature. Local, former soviet furniture has been used and readapted with modern components to populate The Living Boom, creating a language which merges traditional and contemporary elements, as everything inside the public space has been painted in the same condition of a shining red colour.
As part of the European Architecture Student Assembly, this year titled as ‘Not Yet Decided’, four architectural designers from Spain, Italy and Austria have been leading a workshop of 14 participants from across Europe to build the concept of a public living room. It has been one of many workshops of this years Architecture Conference, with over 500 participating young architects.
The Living Boom is a public space on a pier in the Curonian lagoon of Lithuania, acting as a new enhancement to the public life of the city of Nida. Behind a 5-meter-high wooden wall “hides” an outdoor living room fitted with adapted local furniture from the Soviet era. The entire space of The Living Boom is painted in red, generating a unique public space in the middle of the natural attractions of the Curonian region.
Nida is one of the most popular summer vacation destinations of Lithuania, resulting in high touristic density in summer. During these months Nida’s existing public spaces are filled with visitors around the commercial areas of the city. The Living Boom therefore provides a public space, far off the busy, hectic scenes of the city and focuses on the main attraction of this region, it’s vast nature of lagoon, sand dunes and forest.
A pier is a dead end. How can one change the 'end of this long path' and celebrate its end as a new space? Being already set into boundaries on three sides by the element of water, the start of the project was to construct a fourth wall that creates a new space. As one walks along the pier, approaching the wall in the middle of the plain landscapes of lagoon and sand dunes, one yet has to find out what the space behind the wall offers. Only after physically walking through, one can see and grasp the new space, with furniture shining in red, generating an unseen space in the middle of water, sky, sand dunes and forest.
Being five meters tall, the wall is the most striking element of the new public space. Built as a timber construction, fixed into the concrete floor by metallic bolts and planked with long thin wooden elements, the wall is generating the border between the in- and the outside of The Living Boom.
The space is fitted with local furniture from the Soviet era which have been adapted with new elements to allow further functions. This public space offers a three-meter-long table, multiple benches with different characters, a fireplace, a giant wooden chair as well as a traditional wind vane, which was handed to the workshop as a present from the municipality.