Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art

The Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art International Design Competition attracted considerable world-wide media interest; MRC’s online gallery showcasing the seven shortlisted design concepts achieved over 35,000 page views within three days.

The new Museum aims to be the most visited art museum in the Baltics and will be the first major public-private cultural initiative in Latvia. It will form the centrepiece of New Hanza City, a 24.5 hectare commercial and residential development next to the Art Nouveau district in the centre of Riga. The Museum’s unique collection will span art and visual culture in Latvia and the Baltic Sea region from the 1960s to the present day.

MRC worked with the client to identify twenty-five top-tier international architectural practices who took part in this invited competition. The shortlist of award-winning international designers was notable for their experience of contemporary art display as well as cultural and civic placemaking.

MRC invited Latvian architects to work in a creative, collaborative partnership with the shortlisted teams, bringing with them knowledge of local building materials, standards, ideals and values.

David Bickle, jury chair, and Director of Design, Exhibitions and FuturePlan at the V&A, said of Adjaye Associates’ winning concept design:

The proposal is a beautiful and poetic response to the challenge of the design brief but above all it is specific to Riga. The team thoroughly understood the effect of soft northern light in experiencing and creating art and this insight was the inspiration for their scheme.

Through the use of wood and form, the concept design subtly references Latvian architecture. The design is very welcoming and porous – it has the potential to be loved.

David Adjaye, principal of Adjaye Associates, said:

The entire process – from collaborating with the local architects, to cultivating a design that both understands and enhances its context, to the transparent nature of the competition – has been a pleasure

Project details

Adjaye Associates (UK)
Caruso St John Architects (UK)
Henning Larsen Architects (Denmark)
Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Architects
Neutelings Riedijk Architects
Sauerbruch Hutton (Germany)
Adjaye Associates (UK)
Project value
Circa €30 million