EUR 15 million allocated for restoration of Wagner House, work commences on technical design of the building

  • 2023-02-06
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - EUR 15 million has been allotted from the Emission Trading Instrument (ETS) for the restoration of the Wagner House in Riga, and work has started on the technical design of the building.

In fall 2022, Riga Richard Wagner Society successfully participated in the competition "Greenhouse gas emission reduction in architectural monuments of national importance" announced by the Latvian Environmental Investment Fund. At the very end of 2022, a positive decision was received on the allocation of EUR 15 million from the ETS, which was the maximum funding available for a single project in this competition.

The project is co-financed by funds from the German government in the amount of EUR 5 million.

Currently, EUR 20 million has been committed for the reconstruction of the Wagner House, which will bring the building to a so-called "grey finish" - the building's structures will be renovated, the external envelope will be insulated, internal and external networks will be replaced and energy-saving systems will be installed.

The technical design of the building started in February this year, and the building permit is expected by the end of this summer.

A total of EUR 40 million is needed for the reconstruction of the Wagner House - there is still a gap for interior works, restoration works and theatre technology, so fundraising from various foundations and private donors is ongoing.

Last year, the main contractor, SBSC, was selected through a public tender process, with Sarma un Norde Arhitekti as the main project designer, and Buves un Buvsistemas as the engineer and construction supervisor. Zaigas Gailes Birojs has been hired as a subcontractor for the architectural and interior design.

Experts from other countries have also been brought in - for example, theater technology solutions will be developed by Theater Advies from the Netherlands, while Nagata Acoustics, headed by Yasuhisa Toyota, who have been involved in the design of the Elba Philharmonic and the Paris Philharmonic, as well as many other notable projects, will act as consultants on theatre acoustics.

Over the next few years, the unique 5,000 square meter building ensemble in Old Riga will be renovated and given a new lease of life. The importance of the project is also confirmed by the patrons of the Wagner House restoration project - President Egils Levits, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and Eva Wagner-Pasquier, great-granddaughter of Richard Wagner and former artistic director of the Bayreuth Festival.

The restoration of the Wagner House will bring a number of significant benefits, not only in terms of the diversity and accessibility of cultural events for the people of Latvia, but also in terms of strengthening the image of Riga and Latvia as a cultural center and the link with Richard Wagner, who was Kapellmeister at the House for two years (1837-1839).

The project will not only renovate the building and the theatre hall, but also create masterclasses and a museum. The Wagner House will realize Wagner's vision of “GesamtkunstWerk21” - an incubator for all art forms that will become an international center for young artists worthy of the 21st century.

As reported, general partnership SBSC will renovate Wagner House in Riga for EUR 35,874,019, without value added tax, according to information posted on the Procurement Monitoring Bureau's website.

General partnership SBSC is made up of construction companies Skonto Buve and Skonto Construction, it was the only bidder for renovation of Richard Wagner House in Riga.

The Wagner House will be renovated into a highly energy-efficient building. During the renovation process, measures will be taken to minimize CO2 emissions and ensure use of recycled materials where possible.

Sketches for the Wagner House renovation project have been developed by Zaigas Gailes Birojs firm of architects.

On October 6 last year, an agreement was signed at the Wagner House on EUR 5 million financing for renovation of the building. The German government's co-financing of EUR 5 million will be used over the next four years and is intended to co-finance the preparation of the technical design and the first phase of construction.

The reconstruction and restoration work is scheduled to start in mid-2023, with the opening of the renovated Wagner Theatre is planned for 2026.