Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art a catalyst for changes in Latvia

  • 2016-06-15
  • Michael Mustillo

Set to become a cultural and arts centre of interregional as well as national significance, the planned Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art (LMoCA) in Riga is set to open in Nov. 2021.  LMoCA will be situated within the 24.5-hectare territory of the business and leisure centre New Hanza City (NHC), in the quarter between Hanzas iela, Pulkveza Brieza iela, Skanstes iela, and Sporta iela.

The museum will be adjoined by a number of office buildings, including the headquarters of ABLV Bank, a hotel, conference centre, exclusive apartment district, a pre-school educational facility, as well as an urban garden with spacious and verdant grounds for recreation at the heart of the territory.
LMoCA, a unique collection, will span art and visual culture in Latvia and the Baltic Sea region from the 1960s to the present day.

The new circa 30-million-euro museum, funded by the Boris and Inara Teterev Foundation and the ABLV Charitable Foundation, who are working closely with the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, aims to become the most visited art museum in the Baltic States.

“It is a source of pride that we can experience the first example in Latvia’s history of cultural patronage on such a scale. The new museum building is becoming a catalyst for changes in Latvia. It is an affirmation of the power of private public partnership and the ability to significantly influence our cultural environment,” said Dace Melbarde, Minister for Culture of the Republic of Latvia.

“The ambitiousness of the project proves that, by involving the private sector, it is possible to embark on the construction of large-scale, nationally important infrastructure. The creation of the museum is also a huge investment in the shaping of Latvia’s international image. I am glad that this project has already made creative partnerships between the world’s top class and Latvian architects’ offices.”

The Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art Foundation (LMoCAF) hosted on June 6 presentations delivered to the competition jury by each of the shortlisted seven architectural teams vying to win the commission for the LMoCA.  Each team presentation is a collaboration between an international architectural practice and local Latvian architects.

The jury was comprised of David Bickle (chair), Director of Design, Exhibitions, and FuturePlan, Victoria and Albert Museum; Uldis Balodis, Architect, representing the Ministry of Culture; Gianni Botsford, Director & Head of Design, Gianni Botsford Architects; Janis Dripe, Architect, representing the Ministry of Culture; Reinier de Graaf, Partner, Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), and Director of AMO (OMA’s think tank); Luke Jerram, visual artist and director of Luke Jerram Ltd; Ieva Valtere, Executive Director, Pillar Management, SIA; Elina Vikmane, Board Member, LMoCAF.
The jury later met on Monday, June 6,  and Tuesday, June 7  to select a winner. The winner of the competition is expected to be announced in mid to late June.

The presentations, which were delivered in English, formed part of the jury assessment. Each of the proposals was on display prior to the presentations.
The competitions’ seven shortlisted architectural firms included: Lahdelma & Mahlamaki Architects (Finland) and MADE arhitekti; Henning Larsen Architects (Denmark) and MARK Arhitekti; Neutelings Riedijk; Architects (Netherlands) and Brigita Bula arhitekte; Sauerbruch Hutton (Germany) and Arhitekts Ingurds Lazdins; wHY (US), OUTOFBOX Architecture and ALPS; Caruso St John Architects (UK) and Arhitektu birojs Jaunromans un Abele; and Adjaye Associates (UK) and AB3D.

“There was great excitement in the Foundation when we saw the submissions. We were so thrilled with these and we wanted the general public to see them too —  these seven proposals have come out of a hugely creative collaboration between international architectural practices and Latvian architects,”  said Romans Surnacovs, Chair of the LMoCAF.
“We would like to thank all the teams for participating in the competition and allowing us to present their design concepts for the forthcoming contemporary art museum not only to the competition jury, but also to the general public, architectural professionals and students, and the art community.”  

An online gallery showcasing the seven shortlisted design concepts for the LMoCA Design Competition has been  launched by the competition’s organisers, Malcolm Reading Consultants, in association with the LMoCA.
Images and design boards for the proposals for this new national museum in Riga, Latvia, are now available to view digitally at the competition’s site