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Old November 14th, 2005, 07:21 PM   #1
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Riga - new projects, new European metropolis?

This is short introduction to the the projects in Riga, Latvia waiting for implementation.
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Riga is not that large city, metropolitan area will not exceed 1 mio... although some claim that there is a bit more people. City has got enormous wealth of architectural heritage - not only in centre but in suburbs as well - number of valuable buildings exceeds 10 000. Some satellite cities are very rich with historical architecture too (f.e. Jurmala). Riga city ATM is not that rich - yearly budget is some 400 mio EUR. But this is changing with unexpected speed and in 5 years time city budget should exceed 1 billion (two years ago it was 200 mio).

Although city has got loads of construction lately, the most ambitious projects are ahead in one - five years time. Our ambition is to become important centre of Northern Europe, while maintaining the elegance characteristic for Riga. This city will not impress by height or size. Design here is much more important.

Enough babbling, time for pictures

Old City, picture taken today. A lot of smaller constructions in Centre on-going.

Overview map showing the height limits in Riga. In some areas formally there is no height limit - but these are far outside centrum and nobody expects something happening there in near future.

1. Just few days ago ended idea competition for Kliversala highrise district. Local architect "Venta Didrihsona studija" won. This 6 ha area is located across Old city, divided by 0,8 km wide Daugava. Project costs - above 180 mio EUR, implementation time - 2006 - 2016. Everything should be reshaped here to implement the project, including waterbodies.

- - - -
2. Lucavsala development project. Area - more than 90 ha, investment - above 900 mio EUR. Implementation time - 2006 - 2019. This island is located some 2 km from Old City. As you can see there is planned group of highrises too, but they should not exceed 35 floors. Whole island should be reshaped for those works. Now this place stands almost empty.

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3. Zvirgzdusala development vision. This peninsula is some 10 ha large, now stands empty. This project is in early development stage, highrises up to 24 floors allowed. It stands 1 km south from Old City.

4. Skanstes Street development area. More than 100 ha area north from city Centre is developed now, there is built street network and are started up many new buildings. Many highrises up to 30 floors planned. Some projects from this area:
Rietumu Capital Centre under construction now:

Group of four multifunctional buildings in Grostonas Street:

"Hanzas darzi" complex - larger complex involving buildings up to 24 floors high. Early development stage, 410 000 m2 space to be constructed

Colors here show the use of the buildings, not real color:

- - -
5. Some smaller projects around the city:
- RBS Skals building - waterfront building u/c now

- apartment building on A.Caka Street:

- printing house near airport - under construction now:

- Shokolad - apartment building in Centre, under cosntruction now:

- 4D cinema (you would sit inside a large ball with 360 degree cinema, feel tremble, odours etc.) and laser-game entertainment centre GO Planet, practically completed now.

- new apartment quartal in Centre, under cosntruction now.

- - -
6. One side of "Jurmala gates" - entrance in Jurmala City - beach resort 20 km from Riga. To enter the city you chould cross rather large river - ant there is expected to be built highrise "entrance" in this beautiful city. There could rise some 2 - 4 high buildings over the next years. Nearer to the sea highrises are not allowed.
Situation now:

One of the planned highrises:

7. Dienvidu tilts (Southern bridge) - >200 mio EUR investment on-going right now. Total length of elevated roads will exceed 7 kilometres, including the bridge over 0,9 km wide Daugava River.

There are also on-going preparations for Northern tunnel - but it will cost 0,5 billions at least - thus we have to wait a little.
- - -
8. Valdemara parks quartal construction in Centre. This quartal is surrounded by beautiful Historism and Art Nouveau arhcitecture - thus the requirements on its architecture were quite high. German "Behnisch, Behnisch & Partners" won this international tender. 70 mio EUR investment, works to start in 2006, to be completed until 2008.

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9. Kipsala highrise district - the most ambitious highrise district in Riga. Together with Kliversala (see No.1.) it will form the "New Riga" across the river. More than 30 highrises planned up to 50 floors high. But main attention goes to design, not height. Here a bit outdated vision from the beginning of 2004. The reality seems, will be more impressive. That bridge exists.

My own "rendering" with all the proposals known for me some 6 months ago:

Some projects in Kipsala:
- one of tender proposals for DAM property building - a bit controversial architecture. They plan 7 underground/underwater floors for car parking.

- Da Vinci. Construction should start next spring. 50 mio EUR investment. Across the bay you see Kliversala - that's the place described in No.1.

- Balasta dambis 11 - approved, now we are waiting when construction will start.

- Akropole - two 30 floor towers to be started next year. I hope though that their design would change to better.

- - -
10. Vision of the new city administrative centre - implementation should start in 2007. Early development vision. This will be highrise complex where initially City Council will move, expected that government institutions will move there as well.

Varti - means "gates". This is one of the main entrances in Riga City

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11. Andrejsala (Jaunriga) development project - > 700 mio EUR investment to the north from Old City, 123 ha area. Here the planning still is on-going, may be just one highrise would be allowed. Preparation works have been started.

- - -
12. Latvian National library - works to be started next year. Enormous building waiting for construction since the designing in early 1990ies. One more high-end conference hall for Riga included. Costs - above 120 mio EUR.

There are two more large culture objects to be constructed until the end of 2008:
- Accoustic Concert hall (45 mio EUR) - international design tender on-going now.
- Museum of Contemporary Art (30 mio EUR) - will be located in Andrejsala.
- - -
13. Panorama Plaza - 85 mio EUR investment on-going right now. Am not too happy with this design. You have to drive along this when coming from airport... but OK

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14. Riga airport city. Riga airport is booming - more than 80% increase this year. Airport is just 7 km from the centre. We hope that this airport will be important hub between Asia and Europe, as well as important international airliner service and civil aviation education centre. Now there are built streets in this 90 ha "city" and announced first international tender for the landuse. Highrises up to 24 floors allowed. Scan from newspaper:

- - -
Time to stop. There is happening A LOT more, but I don't have pictures of many projects which are under preparation now
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Last edited by Gatis; November 14th, 2005 at 07:29 PM.
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Old November 14th, 2005, 07:31 PM   #2
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I like how most of those projects appear so organic, keep us updated.
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Old November 14th, 2005, 07:47 PM   #3
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very nice, very futuriste, i love
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Old November 14th, 2005, 08:56 PM   #4
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Am likin some of those projects. Should transform the city.
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Old November 14th, 2005, 09:06 PM   #5
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I LIKE the builgings with trees!
good idea!
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Old November 14th, 2005, 10:33 PM   #6
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Some very nice projects there. Thanks for sharing.
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Old November 14th, 2005, 11:27 PM   #7
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I have heard how well Riga has preserved its heritage, but i had no idea that it was in upwards of 10,000 buildings. That is very impressive!

As are most of these projects which have been posted. There seems to be a strong sense of design in Riga as well as interest in different building typologies!

Thanks for the post and I wish Riga the best of luck with these projects!

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