Photo by Reinis Hofmanis

A new venue for art and culture Hanzas Perons is opening in Riga today, August 17. The author of the rebuilding and restoration of the former cargo railway warehouse is the architectural firm Sudraba Arhitektūra (Silver Architecture), which has adapted the building to its new functions while respecting its history and the industrial heritage. The International Festival of Contemporary Theatre Homo Novus, Music Festival Skaņu mežs, Digital Freedom Festival and other events will take place in the new arts and culture centre this autumn.

Stories Editorial August 17, 2019

Between the 13th and 18th centuries on the territory of the Hanzas Perons were the Riga city pastures, but later on, wealthy Rigans started to use it for building summer cottages and places for leisure. With the development of railway infrastructure, the territory became instrumental for creating a modern city and a port, and in 1900 the Riga City Council issued a decision on the construction of the Riga cargo railway warehouse. The exact year of its construction is unknown, but it can be assumed that the building was built around 1903. The building did not have the status of an architectural monument, but it is located within the protection zone of the Riga historical centre and it is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The last shipment of goods in this building was reloaded in 2009, designing began in 2016, and reconstruction works in 2017. The previously inaccessible industrial heritage site has been preserved almost untouched until today — Sudraba Arhitektūra architects discovered beautiful brick walls, wooden beams, many sliding doors and gates. The main task of the building restoration and rebuilding was to adapt it to a new use — as a multifunctional cultural venue. The authors emphasize that in a city with such a large proportion of historic buildings, this approach is sustainable and in line with Riga’s UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

In order to adapt the object to the requirements of modern energy efficiency, the historic building has a glass «coat» around its perimeter with a double pine facade for shading. Such an architectural solution protects the old building and creates new platform–style entry halls for visitors.

The restored brick and other architectural elements of the old warehouse make up the interior of 4,426 square meters of the new Hanzas Perons and provide an appealing scenography for a wide variety of cultural and entertainment events. During the reconstruction, brick walls, wooden roof construction and original curved sheds were restored by hand and using historical construction techniques. Throughout the building, there are concrete floors laid out in terrazzo technique. There is a steel train wagon located on the original Riga wagon factory platform. There are 57 parking spaces, three bus parking spaces and 38 bicycle parking spaces on the territory of Hanzas Perons.

The team of the Sudraba Arhitektūra worked on the architectural part of the Hanzas Perons project: Reinis Liepiņš, Ilze Liepiņa, Ieva Landmane, Ainars Plankājs, Mārtiņš Ostaņevics, Jurģis Prikulis. The restoration concept and solutions were designed by the architect Ilze Liepiņa. Author supervision was carried out by «Pillar Architecten» and «Sudraba Arhitektūra»: Reinis Liepiņš, Anete Šalma, Diāna Kūla, and Ieva Landmane.

The restoration, rebuilding and adaptation of historical buildings to suit modern functions is a specialization of this architectural firm. Majority of the most famous works by Sudraba Arhitektūra were created in the historical centre of Riga, where centuries–old residential buildings, warehouses, staircases and other structures were beautifully restored. Currently, the firm is working on a renovation project for adapting the Riga Castle to the needs of the Latvian National History Museum, as well as the reconstruction and restoration of the building on 5 Anglikāņu iela, as well as on several smaller objects.

The contractor of the Hanzas Perons project is Pillar Development, the builder is Pillar Contractor. A total of 11,632,000 euros have been invested in the site. The cultural venue Hanzas Perons is located on Hanzas iela 16a, Riga.