Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art, Riga, Latvia


Location: Riga, Latvia

Year: 2016

Area: 7000m2



The shortlisted proposal for the Latvian Contemporary Museum of art is a restrained and humble landmark destined to illuminate its surroundings. The white and translucent building serves as an instrument of light – or a lantern in an urban space. The façade material is timber-based, a modern shingle, of which varying installation techniques and alterations of geometry enable the numerous lighting options of the façade. The building lives by the seasons and the solar day; it has different aspects depending on the artificial light coming from the inside, on its colour and on the intensity and the direction of incoming natural light. It alters by the seasons and by the daily rhythm, by different angles of light and by the natural and artificial light infiltrating through the façade in different ways.


The cityscape and the functionality go hand in hand. The building is accessible both from the park and form the street, which is pedestrian urban space.


The design is based on the principle of order and regularity, on structural repetition. The Lobby is an exception, as its curving walls form the architectonical and functional core of the building, the “calling card” of the Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art.


The white shingle covers the façade of the building, but in a manner that the natural light from outside and the artificial light from inside get through the structure. The hazy and translucent envelope is interrupted only at its centre part by the entrance and the Atrium. This arrangement emphasizes the sculpture-like nature of the building.


The entrance area, the Lobby and the Atrium are spacious and full of light. The wall and ceiling surfaces are covered with whitened sawn-finish boards. The floor of the Atrium has whitened boards, and that of the Lobby area is of polished concrete. The architecture of the wooden surfaces is repeated in the galleries where CLT (Cross Laminated Timber) -type of timber board is used on the surfaces. The surfaces of the galleries are white.