Riga Circus has launched an open international contest to restore its historic venue and remasterplan its surrounds in the heart of the Latvian capital
Open to all architects, the competition seeks innovative proposals to restore and enhance the deteriorating landmark 1888 entertainment venue which occupies a prominent site within the historic city centre.
The domed Art Nouveau building was designed by Latvian architect Janis Fridrihs Baumanis, and is thought to be the oldest circus building in Europe.
According to the brief: ‘The construction idea should include architectural and functional solutions for the renovation and expansion of the Riga Circus as well as masterplan development proposals and landscaping solutions for the territory …
‘The aim of the competition is to obtain a high-quality architectural solution, a functionally well-developed and economically justified sketch design that meets the requirements set out in the brief.’
The Riga Circus was created by German circus artist and director Albert Salamonsky, who had also created similar venues in Moscow and Odessa. The 1,700-capacity hall was the city’s first purpose-built entertainment facility and harnessed innovative construction techniques to create its iconic domed roof.
Following the Soviet invasion of the Baltic states during the Second World War, the circus was nationalised and remained under the supervision of the USSR Ministry of Culture Circus Department until 1991. Today the venue is supported by the Latvian Ministry of Culture and hosts regular performances every week.
Competition entries will be judged 40 per cent on architectural quality, 20 per cent on sustainability, 20 per cent on masterplanning, and 20 per cent on improvements to the surrounding context.
Judges include Janis Dripe from the Latvian Ministry of Culture, Juris Dambis of the State Heritage Protection Inspectorate, Tom Kokins from the Latvian Architects Union, and Riga Circus creative director Mārtiņš Ķibers.
The overall winner will receive a £13,000 prize while a second prize of £8,700 and third prize of £6,000 will also be awarded along with three additional prizes worth £870 each. The three top winners will then be invited to negotiate for the design contract.
The registration deadline is 5pm local time on 25 May and submissions must be completed by 5pm local time on 4 June.
How to apply
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