Seven-strong shortlist announced for the Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art Design Competition


Seven-strong shortlist announced for the Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art Design Competition

The Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art Foundation (LMoCAF) announced today [27.01.16] the seven international architectural practices shortlisted to design the building of the new museum in the centre of Riga, Latvia in the invited design competition organised by Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC).

The circa €30 million project for the Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art (LMoCA) is funded by the Boris and Inara Teterev Foundation and the ABLV Charitable Foundation, who are working closely with the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia. The Museum’s ambition is to become the most visited art museum in the Baltic States, as well as a cultural and arts centre of interregional significance. Its unique collection will span art and visual culture in Latvia and the Baltic Sea region from the 1960s. 

Twenty-five top-tier international practices were invited to submit their credentials for this initiative, which seeks to create an environmentally-sustainable architectural masterwork which will become one of Riga’s leading visitor, public and civic attractions. It is anticipated that the concept designs will be developed in association with local architectural practices. MRC made recommendations to the board of the Foundation, which chose the shortlist.

The shortlisted teams are (in alphabetical order):

•    Adjaye Associates                                 (UK)

•    Architects Lahdelma & Mahlamäki        (Finland)

•    Caruso St John Architects                     (UK)

•    Henning Larsen Architects                    (Denmark)

•    Neutelings Riedijk Architects                (Netherlands)

•    Sauerbruch Hutton                                (Germany)

•    wHY                                                       (US)

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, said,

"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."

"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."

MRC reports an encouraging response from its open call to Latvian architects – who have until mid-February, 2016 – to put themselves forward to work in a creative, collaborative partnership with the international teams. Latvian teams are warmly invited to register as potential partners for this landmark project in order that their details can be passed to the shortlist. 

Malcolm Reading continued,

"This is a model of collaboration that we have promoted internationally to great success. In a major international design competition we ran for a new addition to the Glasgow School of Art, in Scotland, a US practice, Steven Holl Architects, won the competition with a Scottish firm, JM Architect, as design partner.JM Architects found the experience invaluable and subsequently the two practices have successfully worked together to make competition entries for subsequent global projects."

An exhibition of concept designs is planned for the late spring and the Foundation will also publish these in the international media. The winner announcement is due in late May 2016.



Catherine Reading

E: [email protected]

T: +44 (0)20 7831 2998


Jayne Broomhall

E: [email protected]

T: +44 (0)20 7831 2998