In the Latvian Architecture Award competition, the work by architecture office MADE arhitekti was recognised on two counts this year— they received not only the Grand Prix for the Dailes Theatre square, but also a prize for the wooden office building in Lizums. The energy-efficient and laconic architecture of the building focuses on the rational use of resources while creating a pleasant and open working environment. The project has also just been nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Award.
The architecture of the wooden office building is based on the desire of the authors and the client to build a rational, simple, and sustainable structure that provides a comfortable working environment, avoids unnecessary operational costs, and is adaptable to the future needs of the company. The building combines the administrative, canteen, and representation functions of the factory, creating a comfortable meeting place for employees and a contemporary accent in the factory complex, which is clearly visible from the access road. The first floor of the building houses a canteen with a kitchen, HR department offices, and a multifunctional conference hall, while the second floor accommodates workspaces for employees and management, with space for potential future growth, as well as meeting rooms. To separate visitor and employee flows, the building has two separate entrances.
The client for the building, the company Avoti, is one of the largest and most modern manufacturers of wooden furniture in the Baltics. In Lizums, a village in Vidzeme, they make products that reach consumers worldwide, including items for a global brand like Ikea. In addition to furniture manufacturing, Avoti also produces wood fibre granules, effectively converting manufacturing residues into a new resource. Naturally, when considering a new office building, the company wanted to use timber, which, along with sustainability, is also one of the focuses of MADE arhitekti. The building is constructed of glued wooden beams and columns, with the stability ensured by large-format CLT wooden panels in walls and ceilings. Wood is not only the structural material of the building but also defines the visual image of the architecture and interior.
The building’s form was directly influenced by the selected ventilation system and the desire to introduce daylight into the spaces. Overhangs were created on the east, south, and west sides of the volume, shading the windows during the summer and protecting the interior from overheating. «The building is like a unified, natural air exchange mechanism. The office spaces are equipped with a hybrid supply-exhaust ventilation system with mechanical exhaust and a natural air supply. Air is introduced into the space through manually operated vents above fiberboard ceilings. In cold weather, as it enters the ceiling space, the air warms up and evenly enters the spaces through fiberboard ceilings, mixing with the warm room air and preventing drafts and discomfort. In each office space, it is the user who adjusts the air supply, explain the authors of the building.
The 2023 Selection Jury of the Latvian Architecture Award noted that MADE arhitekti have succeeded in creating an innovative high-quality example of timber architectural that seamlessly blends the surrounding landscape, architecture, and interior into a single entity. «It’s an environment that allows the user to see a different perspective, encourages changing habits, inspires the transformation of space, and finding multifunctional applications,» says the jury’s evaluation. The Avoti office building is among seven projects from Latvia that have recently been nominated for the EU Prize for Contemporary Architecture — Mies van der Rohe Award.
Architecture and interior design by MADE arhitekti; structural engineering — ZAZA timber; engineering — EIPB; construction company — RCI Gulbene; water supply and sewage — Inženiercentrs Komforts; electricity — Elektro projekts; energy calculations — Mare Mitrēvica and Ruta Vanaga
furniture supplier — Progetto.