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Caruso St John and Adjaye Associates in running for €30m Latvian museum

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Caruso St John and Adjaye Associates are the only UK firms on the seven-strong shortlist for the Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art 

The Brits, are up against Denmark’s Henning Larsen Architects, Lahdelma & Mahlamäki from Finland, Dutch firm Neutelings Riedijk Architects, Germany’s Sauerbruch Hutton, and wHY from the US in the Malcolm Reading Consulants-run contest.

The finalists saw off competition from 25 international practices who were invited to submit entries for the art gallery and museum contest.

Funded by the Boris and Inara Teterev Foundation and the ABLV Charitable Foundation, the €30 million new museum will sit in the centre of Latvia’s capital Riga and plans to become the ‘most visited art museum in the Baltic states’.

It is expected the concept designs for the museum building will be drawn up alongside local architectural practices who have until February to put themselves forward for work on the project.

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, commented: ‘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.

He added: ‘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.’ 

The finalists’ concept designs are set to go on display in the spring and a winner will be announced in May 2016.

The art gallery is planned to open in November 2021.


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