Riga: The Latest Architecture and News
Zaha Hadid Architects were selected along with Esplan from Estonia to design the new terminal of the Rail Baltic railway at Ülemiste, Tallinn. Their proposal for the starting point of the Rail Baltic line connecting Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius with the European high-speed rail network, has been awarded the first place in the design competition.
The Latvian city of Riga, the largest between the three Baltic states, is undergoing a cultural and urban renaissance. The city's pedestrian-only Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with several museums, cultural centers, and restaurants, attracting thousands of new visitors every year.
London-based architecture firm AI Studio have received planning approval for the development of a mixed-use tower in the Latvian capital, featuring retail stores, offices, restaurants, and public spaces.
Bee Breeders has announced the winners of the Teamakers Guest House competition, calling for design proposals for an eco-friendly, cost-effective accommodation to house visitors to the Ozolini teamakers retreat, situated in a forest 100 kilometers southeast of the Latvian capital of Riga.
Danish firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects has been selected to design the redevelopment of Kimmel Quarter, a historic district in the heart of the Latvian capital of Riga, after an international competition. The 19th-century Kimmel Brewery complex, now mostly abandoned, will be transformed into a mixed-use center featuring a new office building, hotel, and an array of public facilities. Schmidt Hammer Lassen was one of eleven participants, with firms such as Henning Larsen and Zaha Hadid invited to the open competition.
The proposal for the 120,000-square-foot (11,500-square-meter) district manifests as a vibrant, public-orientated program, including a gym, child care center, café, food court, and spa. A series of courtyards and plazas are laced throughout the scheme, connecting old and new in a “timeless, classic appearance that is also uniquely contemporary.” The design took 2nd place in a competition in which no first place winner was selected, as the jury felt that no entry fully met the competition criteria. As the highest-placing entry, the competition organizers have committed to begin negotiations with Schmidt Hammer Lassen to refine the design.
Gunnar Birkerts, Latvian-born architect and educator, passed away on August 15, 2017, at the age of 92. A passionate advocate of a creative process he called "organic synthesis," he leaves behind dozens of built works over three continents and influenced hundreds of architectural students and colleagues through his inquiry-based process and dynamic interactions. Eric Hill and John Gallagher, in their AIA Guide to Detroit, said of Birkerts’ architecture:
Each of his works seems to be approached as an opportunity to explore the essence of an architectural problem, resulting in a statement that often exceeds the immediate project.
Gunārs Birkerts, the prolific Latvian-American architect best known for designing the "Castle of Light"—the world's largest library in Riga, Latvia—has died aged 92. The National Library, which was first conceived in 1988 and officially opened in 2014, has become among the most significant, and controversial, contemporary public buildings in Latvia.