In recent decades, contemporary art museums have tended to become the new landmarks of cities, transforming them into genuine metropolises, while their architects become starchitects in a blink of an eye.
In some sense, the Contemporary Art Museum project is much more significant than the whole New Hanza, Central Riga or even Riga itself. Once it realises its full potential, it is envisaged to become the capital’s new landmark, thus placing it in elite company alongside the Tate Modern in London, MoMA in New York and the Pompidou Centre in Paris.
An international tender was arranged to find the very best offer for the design of the new museum: an idea was born through a partnership between the British architecture firm Adjaye Associates and its Latvian counterpart AB3D. The tender tasked the architects with creating a building that would offer all the functions of a museum, fit the climate conditions and the mentality of a nation in this part of the world.
The architects responded to this challenge by creating a design resembling the city’s typical skyline and enabling crisp northern light to enter the building. The construction and completion of the museum will be overseen by a foundation established in 2014 by four philanthropists: Ernests Bernis, Oļegs Fiļs, Ināra and Boris Teterev.
The museum is now in the final design stage and it is planned that the construction project will be prepared by the end of 2018 to allow the construction works to begin.
The museum is going to have the Baltics’ biggest exhibition halls for contemporary art, 200-seat auditoriums for performances, sound art, concerts and conferences; a reading room, art studio, cafe and children’s playroom. Each of the rooms will serve the key purpose of the place: to maintain a sense of home and community that welcomes creative spirits in all their diversity and celebrates artistic minds inspired by contemporary art. The construction works will span an area of 6,000 m2, while the building itself will subsequently offer up to 7,700 m2 of space on three floors.