Adjaye Associates has been selected to design a new contemporary art museum in the center of Riga, the capital of Latvia. The project is one of several current cultural projects in London-based firm’s portfolio, including the Studio Museum in Harlem and the soon-to-open Smithsonian National Museum of African American Culture in Washington, D.C.
The design for the museum, which Adjaye Associates is developing with Latvian firm AB3D, uses forms and materials typical of the region. The building’s jagged roofline—evocative of a collection of Latvian houses—includes generous skylights that will let in “soft northern light” to the museum’s upper level galleries.
Renderings show a wide, tree-lined entry that slopes from the street to a central atrium, serving as a meeting place and welcoming passersby into the galleries. The interior will be lit naturally by a set of triangular glass panels, while the exterior will be clad in dark timber typical of buildings in Riga.
The museum has been billed “the first major public-private cultural initiative in Latvia,” and will be funded jointly by the country’s ministry of culture and a group of charitable foundations. These parties hope that its construction will not only support the country’s artistic community, but also make Riga into an internationally recognized destination. Firm founder David Adjaye called the museum a “much-needed” project and said that it “will be a beacon that both celebrates Latvia’s incredible artistic legacy and meaningfully links the country to the international art community.”
Adjaye Associates beat out seven other shortlisted design teams led by wHY, Caruso St. John Architects, Henning Larsen Architects, Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Architects, Neutelings Riedijk Architects, and Sauerbruch Hutton.