Walking the Baltic Way

Perception of the Baltic Way 1989

The peaceful protest has shown unprecedented scale and degree of participation supporting the noble idea. Compared to the real scale of the event, there is a danger of the individual experience (storytelling from people) being limited and the delivery from the media (news, photos, books) being abstract and detached from the truthful understanding of the event. Physically no one has perceived the dramatic human chain from Talinn to Vilnius by one sight or walking. The scale of the protest was vast enough to make us hard to experience the degree of collaboration from different villages, cities and states.

Walking the Baltic Way suggests to frame this predicament, the scale of the Baltic Way: the number of people, the length of human chain, the cities and villages involved into the demonstration, into a form of a continuous walkway. In this simple covered promenade, supported by linear columns, we would like to provide an experience of walking the Baltic Way 1989, Vilnius to Talinn at the site, informing the knowledge of every cities, number of people through the columns. While we walk the Baltic Way Memorial, touching and connecting the engraved memories, we can participate in the human chain, perceive the scale of the event, reproducing the true meaning and celebration.

Participation to complete the demonstration

Along with the covered walkway, the elongated columns facing to the walking viewers present engraved silhouette of protesters from 1989. Not only those panels present the figure of the human chain, but also describe the geographical information in the actual Baltic Way corresponding to the location of column. It leaves a room between columns and, depending on the view while walking, it shows that people are connected and disconnected in another view. This play of connection and disconnection allows us to participate in the demonstration in symbolic way touching the stone left and right to connect them all. This event will create a living memory of the Baltic Way.

Extending the joy of walking in Riga

The suggested memorial walk attempts to extend the enjoyable walking culture in Riga, making a loop from Latviešu Strēlnieku Laukums to Doma Laukums, Stone Bridge to Doma Laukums. At the same time, this loop will increase the accessibility from the city to the Stone Bridge and waterfront area. This possibly suggests the extended demonstration of the event from the competition site to the larger urban framework.

Toward True Memorial

Memorialization can be framed into the three chronological developments, reflecting on how they set up the reference of the event or idea. 1. Direct Reference: The most sacred and historical form of memorialization. It shows direct figure of people, objects or keepsakes. Focusing on linear didacticism, it can be easily detached from people’s daily life. There is a danger for this to be a propaganda or a tool for redemption to forget the past. 2. Conceptual Reference: This transitional works towards sensational reference present Anti-Monuments, questioning the role of physical presence of the direct reference. Participation and the role of ‘reader’ is introduced. 3. Sensational Reference: Experience and artistic sensation in the park setting is emphasized. This appeals to our daily life without clearly asking what to remember. Our proposal suggest to overcome these paradigms combining ‘direct reference (human chain as continuing columns and the Baltic Way in the site)’ and ‘sensational reference (promenade and gradual elevation)’.


People walk through the revived Baltic Way while learning the city, people and local information in that corresponding location of the Baltic Way. While walking on the path, viewers can tag their smartphone to receive the local information of the area. And people can upload their participation using a device in the column.

The ground floor landscape where the path is located is divided by 9 different areas representing three Baltic States.

Simple Construction using steel framing and prefab-concrete panels

To essentialize the human collaboration supporting a noble idea, one side column row supporting cantilevered roof is suggested. Steel framing and curtain wall panel system can allow lighting fixture, digital device inside of the columns, which are covered by thin prefabricated concrete panels, panelized into a certain size to reduce the cost and for the ease of production.

Elevated Walkway and Supporting programs

By walking from Vilnius to Talinn, the viewers are gradually going up by accessible 5% ramp to reach 3.5m height, where it provides unexpected views. This spot is the highlight of the celebration and accumulation of victory. At the same time, it avoids unpleasant encounter with the heavy vehicle road(Novembra Krastmala). The programs such as Gallery, Cafe and shop are located under the walkway. Therefore, the re-configured Baltic Way is not interrupted by programs but easily accessible on the ground floor.