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Seven-strong shortlist announced for the Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art Design Competition

January 26, 2016

The Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art Foundation (LMoCAF) announced the seven international architectural practices shortlisted to design the building of the new museum in the centre of Riga, Latvia in the invited design competition organised by Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC).

The circa €30 million project for the Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art (LMoCA) is 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. The Museum’s ambition is to become the most visited art museum in the Baltic States, as well as a cultural and arts centre of interregional significance. Its unique collection will span art and visual culture in Latvia and the Baltic Sea region from the 1960s.

Twenty-five top-tier international practices were invited to submit their credentials for this initiative, which seeks to create an environmentally-sustainable architectural masterwork which will become one of Riga’s leading visitor, public and civic attractions. It is anticipated that the concept designs will be developed in association with local architectural practices. MRC made recommendations to the board of the Foundation, which chose the shortlist.

The shortlisted teams are (in alphabetical order):

  • Adjaye Associates (UK)
  • Architects Lahdelma & Mahlamäki (Finland)
  • Caruso St John Architects (UK)
  • Henning Larsen Architects (Denmark)
  • Neutelings Riedijk Architects (Netherlands)
  • Sauerbruch Hutton (Germany)
  • wHY (US)

Chair of the Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art Foundation, Romans Surnačovs, said:
“This new museum is a major initiative for Latvia and will showcase the country’s culture and artistic flair. Creating a museum, which can compete with others around the world and establish a distinctive presence on the regional cultural map, is a specialised challenge, so in the competition we have sought to concentrate on international designers who are experienced in this field. However, the project represents an opportunity for seven local practices to shine too in a creative partnership with the international practices. As with any serious creative endeavour, it is the will to contribute knowledge that leads to ultimate success.”

Competition organiser, Malcolm Reading, said,
“The selection of the architects was made by balancing skills, talent and ability as shown in past projects. Knowledge and experience of contemporary art display was important but so was cultural and civic placemaking: a fascinating element of the project is trying to make a new place in this part of Riga. Additionally, understanding the realities of designing public and cultural buildings along with awareness and experience of designing for different climates and sustainability was taken into consideration.

“It is also anticipated that local architectural practices will bring knowledge of local building materials and standards, local outlook, ideals and values, as well as specifics of local climate and visitors’ behaviour, accordingly, to let the design fulfil the museum’s mission – to be a place where people genuinely feel at home – all year round."

MRC reports an encouraging response from its open call to Latvian architects – who have until mid-February, 2016 – to put themselves forward to work in a creative, collaborative partnership with the international teams. Latvian teams are warmly invited to register as potential partners for this landmark project in order that their details can be passed to the shortlist.

Malcolm Reading continued,
“This is a model of collaboration that we have promoted internationally to great success. In a major international design competition we ran for a new addition to the Glasgow School of Art, in Scotland, a US practice, Steven Holl Architects, won the competition with a Scottish firm, JM Architect, as design partner.JM Architects found the experience invaluable and subsequently the two practices have successfully worked together to make competition entries for subsequent global projects.”

An exhibition of concept designs is planned for the late spring and the Foundation will also publish these in the international media. The winner announcement is due in late May 2016.

Catherine Reading
E: catherine.reading@malcolmreading.co.uk
T: +44 (0)20 7831 2998

Notes to editors

Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art
With the objective of founding the Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art (LMCA), the ABLV Charitable Foundation and the Boris and Ināra Teterev Foundation have founded the Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art Foundation. Drawing on the founders’ funds and other financing from private individuals and in partnership with the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, the Foundation’s goal is to build the Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art, ensure the museum’s operation and governance, including the formation, maintenance and researching of the museum’s collection of contemporary art.

Believing that private initiative is of great importance to the development of society, the founders of the new foundation hope that this step will provide a powerful boost to the development of contemporary arts processes in Latvia, encouraging the formation of an integrated cultural space and making Riga a well-known and distinctive tourism destination.

On 30 October 2014, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia and the Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art Foundation signed a memorandum of intent regarding the building and development of the Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art. It was signed on the basis of the successful long-term collaboration between the Ministry of Culture, the ABLV Charitable Foundation and the Boris and Ināra Teterev Foundation, as notable benefactors in the realm of Latvian contemporary art, and ABLV Bank as the principal supporter of the formation of the Museum of Contemporary Art’s collection.

The memorandum of intent envisages that the Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art will be located within the territory of the business and leisure centre New Hanza City (NHC). NHC is being developed across an area of 24.5 hectares in the location of the former Riga railway goods station, in the quarter between Hanzas iela, Pulkveža Brieža 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. It is agreed that the Foundation’s founders will provide financing in the amount of at least €30 million for the development of the museum.

The Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art Foundation plans to open the museum building on 18 November 2021. After it enters service, the museum’s operations will be organised in accordance with the Republic of Latvia’s Museums Law, so that in conformity with the operating principles of a private accredited museum, the museum will be accessible to the general public and its collection will be included in the National Museum Collection Catalogue.

The Boris and Ināra Teterev Foundation
In 2010, the philanthropists Boris and Ināra Teterev founded a family charitable foundation to encourage the development of culture, art and higher education, as well as to provide support in the social realm to community development organisations and animal welfare initiatives. The results of projects supported by the Foundation have touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of members of Latvia’s population, as well as the inhabitants of 10 other countries in almost every continent of the world.
For more information, please visit: www.teterevufonds.lv

Boris and Ināra Teterev’s TÊTE-À-TÊTE arts programme is one of the ways in which the Boris and Ināra Teterev Foundation encourages the development and facilitates the accessibility of culture and art in Latvia. The programme was launched in 2013, offering the general public contemporary cultural and arts events on a European scale, whose execution in Latvia would be unfeasible without the Foundation’s support.
For more information, please visit: www.tat.lv

In turn, permanent contemporary art objects in the urban environment are created under the auspices of the Foundation’s art programme “Art in Public Space”. The programme’s leitmotif is THE JOY OF THOUGHT, accenting the pleasant surprises, paradoxes, global spirit and thinking that contemporary art can bring to the urban environment.
For more information, please visit: www.artinpublicspace.lv

The ABLV Charitable Foundation
In signing its collaboration agreement with the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia in 2005, ABLV Bank became the most significant supporter of the Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art project, allocating €1.422,872 million for the formation of the museum’s collection by the year 2021. Currently, the bank’s funds have been used to acquire works worth €720,000 for the museum’s collection.

Founded in 2006 by ABLV Bank’s biggest shareholders Ernests Bernis and Oļegs Fiļs, ABLV Charitable Foundation’s operating goal is to encourage the corporate sector and society as a whole to take responsibility for their fellow citizens and the environment. The Foundation primarily focuses on supporting contemporary art, children and adolescents, education and the upgrading of the urban environment. The ABLV Charitable Foundation will soon be able to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its founding, in the intervening period having become one of the biggest and most effective charitable foundations in Latvia. To date, it has attracted €4.3 million in donations and gifts, mainly from ABLV Bank, its employees, clients and business partners, and has successfully implemented about 270 projects, allocating them funding in the region of €2 million.

In wishing to offer particular support to contemporary art in Latvia, the ABLV Charitable Foundation organises grant competitions for artists and arts organisations, sponsors arts institutions, educational programmes run by arts institutions, as well as projects in the realm of cultural journalism. The Foundation enjoys a long-term collaboration with the Art Academy of Latvia, supporting its postgraduates in their work on their graduation shows. In 2015, the Foundation was the Lead Sponsor of the Latvian Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale.

For more information, please visit: www.ablv.org

Malcolm Reading Consultants
Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC) is a strategic architectural consultancy which specialises in the selection of contemporary designers. MRC believes in the power of design to create new perceptions and act as an inspiration – either at the local level, or internationally.

The consultancy offers a service to find the very best designers for clients with new building projects, whether through open-international, or private-invited competitions. Recent work in this area includes competitions for Tintagel Castle Bridge, the Guggenheim Helsinki, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park’s Culture & Education Quarter, the Mumbai City Museum, the Natural History Museum, the UK Pavilion at Milan Expo 2015, New College, Oxford, Art Mill, Qatar, the Victoria & Albert Museum’s Exhibition Road project, the UK Pavilion for the Shanghai Expo and
the Glasgow School of Art.

Information about the shortlisted practices

  • Adjaye Associates (UK)

Practice Profile
Adjaye Associates was established in June 2000 by founder and principal architect, David Adjaye OBE. Receiving ever-increasing worldwide attention, Adjaye Associates believes that architecture presents opportunities for transformation – materially, conceptually and sociologically. Driven by the desire to enrich and improve daily life, the practice’s buildings are designed to meet the diverse needs of the communities they serve. Inspiration is drawn from many influences around the world and their work clearly articulates this enthusiasm for issues of place and identity. 

Adjaye Associates has designed a number of museums and cultural buildings, which are unified by their shared sense of civic presence and strong social resonance. These are qualities that are at the heart of the practice’s work. As a civic building, the role of the museum is increasingly not only to exhibit the collection, but to provide access to a collective consciousness while offering the chance for dialogue between different generations and social groupings. The interpretation of identity, history and memory in Adjaye Associates’ buildings is rooted in research. The starting point is always to gain an understanding of exactly these qualities and to use them as the essential drivers for the form and the materiality of the building.

Key Relevant Projects
Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, Colorado, USA
Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington D.C., USA

Other Notable Projects
Studio Museum Harlem, New York, USA
Marian Goodman Gallery, London, UK

Selected Awards
Building Design International Breakthrough Architect of the Year, 2013
RIBA International Award, 2013

  • Architects Lahdelma & Mahlamäki (Finland)

Practice Profile
The owners and co-founders of Architects Lahdelma & Mahlamäki are Professor Ilmari Lahdelma and Professor Rainer Mahlamäki. Since their first success in an open national design competition in 1986, they have received 37 first prizes and 57 other prizes nationally and internationally, in both open and invited-only design competitions. Today, the practice employs around 30 designers and architects and is one of the most famous architecture practices in Scandinavia.

The main focus of Architects Lahdelma & Mahlamäki is in demanding public buildings. The practice adheres to a school of thought which sees buildings not as objects, but as part of their environment. The form, dimensions and materials must always be reinvented anew with each unique context. In the course of designing and completing their museum and exhibition buildings, they have observed how important the architecture of a built form itself is besides the content of the museum hosted.

An essential part of their design philosophy is to study, analyse and develop the program of the project together with the client and the end users. They do not accept contradictions between “architecture and function”; these elements should be in harmony.

Key Relevant Projects
The Centre of Folk Art, Kaustinen, Finland
Maritime Centre Vellamo, Kotka, Finland

Other Notable Projects
Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Warsaw, Poland
Finnish Forest Museum and Information Centre, Punkaharju, Finland

Selected Awards
European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award, shortlisted 2008, 2015
SARP Best Building, 2013 and Best Building Funded by the State, 2013

  • Caruso St John Architects (UK)

Practice Profile
Since its foundation in 1990, Caruso St John has pursued an architecture that is rooted in place. Following the practice’s rise to prominence with the winning of the international competition for the acclaimed New Art Gallery Walsall, its engagement with the art world has been notable for the creation of museum and gallery environments that enjoy the confidence of artists.

The practice is known for its willingness to negotiate the delicate intricacies of art institutions on an equal and genuinely collaborative footing. The span of their practice in the design of museums, galleries and exhibitions, especially in London, has seen a growing public interest in contemporary art, alongside a wider confidence in the way people use public space.

Caruso St John’s work is enriched by an ongoing dialogue with the European city and with history – that of architecture, art, and culture more widely – traditions that bring an accumulated richness of expression to the work. Ideas are elaborated in a manner akin to art practices that engage directly with the built environment and embrace the ‘found’ space. Caruso St John intervenes in sites carefully, valuing the humble and everyday as well as the more celebrated products of the architectural canon.

Key Relevant Projects
Newport Street Gallery, London, UK
Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, UK

Other Notable Projects
New Art Gallery Walsall, West Midlands, UK
Tate Britain Millbank Project, London, UK

Selected Awards
RIBA Stirling Prize Finalist, 2000, 2006
RIBA London Building of the Year, 2006, 2011

  • Henning Larsen Architects (Denmark)

Practice Profile
Henning Larsen Architects is a global design practice with a Scandinavian ethos. Their foundations are rooted in democracy, welfare, and social responsibility, and their approach to design goes beyond the physical and visual impact of a project: their goal is to create vibrant, sustainable buildings that reach beyond themselves and become of lasting value to the people and society for which they are built.

They shape, challenge and change the physical environment at every scale, with the overall objective of providing the user with visionary, comprehensive, and sustainable design. Henning Larsen Architects’ broad portfolio features significant cultural venues, learning facilities, headquarters, and urban designs.

Headquartered in Copenhagen, and with six offices worldwide, Henning Larsen Architects is invested in projects and people globally. Whether designing masterplans, urban plazas, buildings, interiors, or objects, their focus is on the human scale and interactions. It is within this Danish design tradition that they complement their architectural services: in addition to design and technical architects, they have in-house urban designers, landscape architects, sustainability specialists, interior designers, graphic designers, and product designers. Thus, they offer their clients the best foundation for an integrated, comprehensive, and consistent result, from the urban scale, to the details.

Key Relevant Projects
Moesgaard Museum, Aarhus, Denmark
Art Museum at Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden

Other Notable Projects
Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre, Reykjavik, Iceland
Ny Carlsberg Glytotek, Copenhagen, Denmark

Selected Awards
European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award, 2013
Civic Trust Award, 2015, 2011

  • Neutelings Riedijk Architects (Netherlands)

Practice Profile
Willem Jan Neutelings and Michiel Riedijk founded Neutelings Riedijk Architects 25 years ago in Rotterdam. The office offers a strong commitment to design excellence, realising high quality architecture by developing powerful and innovative concepts into clear built form.

Neutelings Riedijk Architects has established itself internationally as a leading practice specialising in the design and realisation of complex projects for public and cultural buildings, such as museums, theatres, concert halls and libraries. The practice has a wide experience in balancing the complex functions and logistics of these projects with their often delicate urban contexts to give them an iconic significance that makes them successful public buildings in the city; at a time when fewer and fewer buildings radiate a collective expression, contemporary museums can become bearers of a strong expression that generates a local identity for the community.

For every project, they make a specific volumetric and materialisation, contributing to the collective pride and identity of the local community as well as to the global recognition of the place. The practice believes great architecture can only be created through dialogue, and their design philosophy is based upon clear communication and close collaboration between client, users and architect.

Key Relevant Projects
Museum of the City of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium
National Museum of Sound and Vision, Hilversum, The Netherlands

Other Notable Projects
‘Eemhuis’ Museum and Library, Amersfoort, The Netherlands
‘Rozet’ Museum and Library, Arnhem, The Netherlands

Selected Awards
European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award nominations 2015, 2011, 2009
Best New Dutch Building, 2014

  • Sauerbruch Hutton (Germany)

Practice Profile
Sauerbruch Hutton is an international agency for architecture, urbanism and design, founded in 1989 by Louisa Hutton and Matthias Sauerbruch in London, relocating to Berlin in 1992. Their work is recognised internationally for its long-term expertise with, and serious engagement in, sustainability in architecture and urbanism.

The practice has benefitted from some twenty-five years of the founding partners’ academic research at various universities into fields such as the situation of the post-industrial city as well as the new paradigms of ecological urbanism and sustainable architecture. Sauerbruch Hutton’s ambition is to create innovative buildings that enrich public life, and that respect and expand on local character while retaining their clear and distinguished physical presence in the city; they see the museum as an island of particularity in the sea of the everyday.

They consider designing and building to be a process of dialogue, of research and of creation in an interdisciplinary team of architectural and various technical and artistic disciplines, and particularly with the client and their stakeholders. Through every stage of the design process, they take care to coordinate results from the scientific and analytical work into the overarching urban, architectural and spatial-material concept of each specific project.

Key Relevant Projects
Museum Brandhorst, Munich, Germany
M9 Museum District, Venice/Mestre, Italy

Other Notable Projects
Immanuel Church, Cologne, Germany
Artist’s studio for Karin Sander, Berlin, Germany

Selected Awards
German Architecture Award, 2015
IBA Excellence Award, International Building Exhibition, 2013

  • wHY (US)

Practice Profile
wHY designs forward-thinking spaces for culture and education, furthering indoor and outdoor relationships and experiences that connect people to art and art to nature. Based in Los Angeles and New York City, the 25-person practice was founded by Kulapat Yantrasast in 2004 and is led by four directors. Over the past decade, wHY has delivered exceptional buildings with sustainability, flexibility and innovation built into their designs.

The practice focuses on the process as much as the product to have the greatest impact in a particular place. Their projects aim to bridge the gap between architecture and people. wHY structure their practice as ‘ecology of disciplines,’ enabling them to best engage clients and communities with the full array of ideas and thinking tools.

Working with ambitious institutions to meet current and future needs, wHY understands the changing roles of museums and art buildings, especially how to position them for obtaining relevancy in their specific contexts by engaging the community way beyond passively looking at art. They design museums as social activity hub, a cultural nucleus as well as an open public space where qualities of life and identity of a city are explored, experienced and expanded.

Key Relevant Projects
Grand Rapids Art Museum, Michigan, USA
Speed Art Museum, Kentucky, USA

Other Notable Projects
Pomona College Studio Art Hall, California, USA
Harvard Art Museums galleries, Massachusetts, USA

Selected Awards
Silpathron Award for Design, Ministry of Culture, Thailand, 2009
American Institute of Steel Construction IDEAS2 Merit Award, 2015

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