The Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art Foundation has selected Adjaye Associates to lead the design for a new contemporary art museum in downtown Riga. Selected from a pool of 7 finalists including wHY and Lahdelma & Mahlamäki, the winning design features a strongly animated roof geometry designed to pull soft northern light into each of the gallery spaces.
Adjaye Associates, working with local firm AB3D, envisioned the museum as a social incubator, a welcoming and porous space where people could be brought together through a variety of formal and spontaneous interactions. The jury found that the proposal’s distinctive silhouette would give the museum a strong presence within its context of planned commercial and residential developments, and that is orientation and materiality showed a keen awareness of the vernacular and cultural contexts.
“The winning proposal is a beautiful and poetic response to the challenge of the design brief but above all it is specific to Riga," said Jury Chair David Bickle. "The team thoroughly understood the effect of soft northern light in experiencing and creating art and this insight was the inspiration for their scheme. Through the use of wood and form, the concept design subtly references Latvian architecture, proposing a very animated structure with a lively entrance that will enable the museum to create architectural presence in a new and emerging district. The design is very welcoming and porous – it has the potential to be loved.”
The Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art will be located in a new business and leisure center of Riga known as New Hanza City (NHC), a 24.5 hectare development on the site of the city’s former railway goods station. The project will be joined by the headquarters of ABLV Bank, a hotel, conference center, exclusive apartment district, a pre-school, and urban gardens for recreation. The new museum will cost rough €30 million and will house a unique collection spanning art and visual culture in Latvia and the Baltic Sea region from the 1960s to the present day.
“I am honoured to have been selected for this ambitious and much-needed project. This museum will be a beacon that both celebrates Latvia’s incredible artistic legacy and meaningfully links the country to the international art community. The entire process - from collaborating with AB3D to cultivate a design that both understands and enhances its context, to the transparent nature of the competition – has been a pleasure, and stands as a testament to Latvia’s profound commitment to the importance of contemporary art to its cultural life.”
The jury also made special acknowledgements to Henning Larsen Architects and Sauerbruch Hutton, awarding an honorable mention to Sauerbruch Hutton’s entry for its “modest beauty and anti-icon rationale.”
The museum is scheduled to open in November 2021.