Schmidt Hammer Lassen Selected in Competition for Redevelopment of Riga Historic Quarter

Danish firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects has been selected to design the redevelopment of Kimmel Quarter, a historic district in the heart of the Latvian capital of Riga, after an international competition. The 19th-century Kimmel Brewery complex, now mostly abandoned, will be transformed into a mixed-use center featuring a new office building, hotel, and an array of public facilities. Schmidt Hammer Lassen was one of eleven participants, with firms such as Henning Larsen and Zaha Hadidinvited to the open competition.

The proposal for the 120,000-square-foot (11,500-square-meter) district manifests as a vibrant, public-orientated program, including a gymchild care center, café, food court, and spa. A series of courtyardsand plazas are laced throughout the scheme, connecting old and new in a “timeless, classic appearance that is also uniquely contemporary.” The design took 2nd place in a competition in which no first place winner was selected, as the jury felt that no entry fully met the competition criteria. As the highest-placing entry, the competition organizers have committed to begin negotiations with Schmidt Hammer Lassen to refine the design.


Throughout the scheme’s development, the design team sought to modernize the brewery site without losing its unique, historic roots. Where possible, the existing buildings at Kimmel Quarter will remain unaltered, maintaining the authentic charm of Riga’s historic fabric. The new central office building will be constructed partly from recycled bricks taken from the site, with a form inspired by the arches of the historic brewery. Recycled bricks will also be used for the revival of the brewery’s former industrial yard into a vibrant plaza, featuring brick and timber benches, lush landscaping, and water elements fed with rainwater runoff.

We wanted to create a new composition of building volumes as pragmatic and straightforward as the old industrial complex with a dynamic façade that pushes back and forth and up and down. The resulting architecture is distinctly modern, but in a rewarding dialogue with the old restored buildings. We have designed a new Kimmel Quarter in which history and the future are bound by timeless architecture.

– Rasmus Kierkegaard, Associate Partner, Schmidt Hammer Lassen.

The scheme responds to Riga’s ambition to meet the European Union’s 2020 climate goals. The office building’s rectangular grid facades are designed to allow maximum natural daylight inside, while lamellas mitigate against overheating from direct sunlight.

Through this combination of modernization, preservation, and sustainability, the architects believe Kimmel Quarter “has the potential to become an example for future development of the city of Riga.”

Avots: Arch Daily

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