RIGA PASSENGER TERMINAL, LATVIA
among shortlisted offices of the competition: ALA architects (FI),
Behnisch Architekten (DE), BIG (DK), ARHIS (LV), HGA (EE), Rolandas Palekas
The existing Riga Passenger Terminal is
situated in an exclusive location – adjacent to the very centre of Riga. At the
same time, the Terminal itself is an absolutely underdeveloped urban entity
from 1970s with most of its surroundings sealed off from any kind of public use
of the city.
With rapidly increasing visiting cruise ship volumes, the outdated
infrastructure and absent connections to the very adjacent, yet unreachable
city centre are undermining the vast potential of Riga Port Terminal to become an established, one-of-a-kind destination of cruise, as well
as passenger transit maritime traffic.
The proposal for
the Riga Passenger Port by NRJA envisions the development of the territory and
port as a high quality urban environment which offers not only maritime
transport, leisure, shopping and business experience but also public space
connection to the city.
The proposal recognizes the unique backdrop of Ķīpsala landscape
of timber architecture as well as the UNESCO listed city centre on the other
bank of the river Daugava that gives the new Port Terminal and its territory a
unique set of qualities.
Regardless of the strict security measures needed for
the part of the territory of the Port, the proposal prescribes a multitude of accessible
public activities, commercial opportunities and recreational facilities.
The very backbone
of the project is an elevated promenade which activates the existing,
underdeveloped pedestrian zone along the river Daugava and connects public
spaces, retail, hotel, terminal and other functions, all accessible from the
same path. All across the given territory, it forms a straight axis, crossing
the planned volumes and clearly separating the functions and program – premises
for trade, offices, galleries and cafes from the Port Terminal and the Port
Hotel volume itself. Beginning at the Vanšu Bridge and ending with the
pedestrian bridge from the Port peninsulas northern end crossing towards
Andrejsala, the Promenade also links the historic Old Riga with the upcoming
mix-use development in Andrejsala, merging the currently unconnected
embankments of Riga.
Synergy of the Passenger
All vehicle traffic
within the territory of the port is organized on the ground level with an
ambition to reduce the impact of traffic and use as much of the very limited
amount of land as efficiently as possible and to open as much of the public
space as possible. Above the ground, the proposal suggests connecting both
major volumes of the competition territory – the Port Terminal and the Port
Hotel, within a single floor high infrastructure slab, raised above the
transport lanes and car parking zones. Connection of the hotel and Port
Terminal volumes into a singular yet heterogeneous landmark entity conveys
their significance as the main element in the whole port territory as well as
generates programmatic and logistic connections between passenger flows and
various functions. Being accessible from the ground floor, Passenger Terminal
or the Promenade level above, the hotel is fully integrated into the Riga Port
Terminal development. On one hand being connected to the Port Terminal and the
public Promenade, the Port Hotel has its own autonomy – own traffic driveway,
own entrances, own public square, own terraces etc.
The Port Hotel as
a contextual landmark
The nine storey
high four star hotel at the very end of the port peninsula is designed as a new
vertical accent neutrally contributing to the skyline of Riga historic centre.
The distinctive edge towards the dominant north-western winds defines the
volume of the building while not covering views of the silhouette of the Old
City. All the rooms of the hotel are distributed along the perimeter of facades
allowing the unique views facing the vast perspective of Daugava on the north,
an elevation of timber architecture of Ķīpsala on the west, a silhouette of Old
Riga on the south and the cosy yacht port and historically rich industrial and
residential parts of the UNESCO listed Riga historic centre on the east.
The unique double
facade system used for all the volumes within the primary competition territory
allows the extents of individual volumes to be legible, while unifying the
volumes into a singular architectural and programmatic composition. Conceptually,
the elements forming the pattern of facades of the hotel and terminal buildings
is generated by a synthesis of the surrounding context – water movement,
reflection of sun in its waves, the sharp but delicate skyline of towers in the
panorama of Old Riga. Technically, it ensures protection against excessive
solar radiation, it allows a possibility of mechanical ventilation of premises
without suffering from the impact of direct wind, it provides stack effect of
air flows without mechanical aids and lastly but not least importantly, it
mitigates the noise caused by ships and other traffic infrastructure nearby. At
the level of Port Terminal, the double facade system, merging the port and
hotel volumes, functions as a built-in horizontal gangway directing passenger
flows along the facade of the building towards adjustable gangways which are
connected to a ferry or ship.
Development of the
extensive research territory
The territory of the competition can be
developed in certain phases. In the extensive development area, commercial functions along with buildings
necessary for ensuring the functioning of the Yacht are proposed. On
the ground level, along the Eksporta Street, full single storey high slab
volumes fill the given plot areas. The roof plane of the one-storey volume is
planned equally high with the Promenade, which allows using it as public
The configuration of the planned volumes between Eksporta Street and the Promenade is determined by necessity to provide maximum space in the new-constructed objects with daylight and view to water. Certain degree of contextuality and sensibility to the different aspects of the Riga historic centre is achieved through changing the roof profile of the proposed four storey buildings. The eastern ends of volumes facing the Eksporta Street acknowledge its urban morphology and responds to the silhouette of the orthogonal configuration of neighbouring facades accordingly. On the other end, the roofs of the volumes are pitched by responding to the panorama of historical timber low rise architecture of Ķīpsala on the opposite, western bank of the river Daugava.
Total area – 105 773 m2