Students from Riga Builders College relocated their workplace from Latvian Riga to German Trier. It was a special experience for everyone.
Fourteen students and three teachers from Riga Builders College (in Latvian: Rigas Celtniecibas koledza) visited the Balthasar-Neumann-Technikum in Trier between October 15-19. The visit was a result of the exchange program between the two schools which was launched in 2005.
As in past years, one purpose of the visit was to get in touch with each other and learn about each other’s cultures and mentalities. The second purpose was to work on an architectural project in German-Latvian mixed groups. The communication inside the groups happened through English. Even this fact always constitutes a great challenge for the students and causes some uncertainty at the beginning. The task itself was not considered to be totally theoretical or unrealistic but a constructional engineering project which probably could be realized. That motivated the students to overcome their initial problems and adjust to the new working conditions.
This year the task was named “development of the attic floor of the BNT school-building”. Currently, the attic floor of the BNT school building, with a total floor space of about 800 m2, is used only as a vast storage room. The builders department of the BNT had the idea of utilizing this floor space. They considered creating a multifunctional room concept, with guest rooms, drawing studios, classrooms and conference rooms. After investigating the attic floor and being provided with a digital building model and a building program, the groups started to work on different possible designs.
The great moment came Thursday afternoon when all six groups presented their results in front of Latvian and German teachers and BNT students. These presentations were obviously the highlight of this return visit. Not only the designs and their visualizations turned out to be of high quality and very convincing . The presenters as well impressed with their commitment to expressing their ideas in English.
The analyses of the attic floor and the variety of creative designs and solutions pointed out that this area could become a very distinguished place with an amazing view of Trier’s sights.
Besides the task, cultural activities took place such as a tour of the city and an excursion to Luxembourg. Besides the strengthening of existing contacts which already had been established during the stay of BNT students in Riga in May, many new contacts between Germans and Latvians developed.
Latvian and German participants have since given very positive feedback. They mentioned that it was fun to work together on that project and they would have appreciated a little bit more time to integrate all their ideas into it. Moreover, the beauty of the greater Trier area impressed the Latvians a lot and they would have liked to stay a few days longer.