The 110-Year-Old Latvian National Museum of Art Gets a Facelift - The 110-Year-Old Latvian National Museum of Art Gets a Facelift
The 110-Year-Old Latvian National Museum of Art Gets a Facelift
May 5, 2016
Having withstood two revolutions, the Latvian National Museum of Art reopens to the public after a three-year restoration project. CEMEX is a proud contributor to this important, historic restoration for the people of Latvia.
Nestled among the trees of Riga, Latvia´s capital city, lies a building that holds just as much cultural and historical significance as the thousands of works of art that it houses. The Latvian National Museum of Art (LNMA) is an architectural landmark, and is once again open to the public after a three-year restoration process.
The LNMA was the first building in the Baltics specifically designed as a museum, and standing in front of the imposing façade, it’s easy to forget that it was constructed during the year of the 1905 revolution. German Architect Wilhelm Neumann, who would become the museum’s first director, designed a majestic building with towering columns, high ceilings, and undulating forms. In what might be an acknowledgement of the changing times, the façade has elements of both baroque and classical architecture, while the interiors hint at an art nouveau aesthetic.
“The Latvian National Museum has played a very interesting and important role in Latvia’s last 100 years,” said Graham Nicolas George Russell, Country Director for CEMEX in Latvia. “The opportunity to work on this project was like playing a part in the country’s history, and we are honored to have been entrusted with that responsibility.”
Two underground levels were created for restoration rooms, storage facilities and three new exhibition halls. Pictures published with permission from the Latvian National Museum of Art
In 1929 and again in 1938, the director of the museum, famous Latvian painter Vilhelms Purvītis, requested what he deemed a badly needed expansion from the city council. He was denied both times. It was not until 2010 that a contest was announced to design the expansion, and it was a further three years before a contract was signed. The LNMA faithfully waited, collecting Latvia’s artistic heritage for more than a hundred years.
During the extensive three-year renovation and extension project, the museum’s floor space was doubled, and two underground levels were created for restoration rooms, storage facilities, and three new exhibition halls. CEMEX supplied more than 9,800 cubic yards (7,500 cubic meters) of ready-mix concrete for the restoration, including for the floor slab of the new underground levels that are almost 20 feet (6 meters) below the original building.
CEMEX supplied ready-mix concrete for the floor slab of the new underground levels that are almost 20 feet (6 meters) below the original building. Pictures published with permission from the Latvian National Museum of Art
The LNMA is located in the Historic Center of Riga, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in a scenic section known as Boulevard Circle, with beautiful buildings and lush parks. This makes it a desirable area for residents and visitors, while creating complicated conditions for construction projects. Precise logistical planning and smart use of the surrounding streets ensured that CEMEX’s ready-mix concrete trucks were able to navigate the intense traffic without disturbing residents or nature.
The historic river caused unexpected high groundwater levels in the soil that required careful attention when pouring concrete 20 feet below grade, as well as pressure from the 110-year-old building above. Constant communication and excellent teamwork with the client ensured that the new underground extension was completed successfully in order to receive thousands of works of art that will finally have a dedicated space.
The museum plans to use the new park for events and for exhibiting larger pieces of art. Pictures published with permission from the Latvian National Museum of Art
One of the main goals of the restoration was to create a more accessible space that would be attractive to visitors, which led to the construction of an impressive park square in polished architectural concrete. “We developed a specialty concrete mixture to satisfy the vision of the designers,” said CEMEX Materials Director for Latvia, Jegors Golubevs. The museum plans to use the new park for events and for exhibiting larger pieces of art.
A new park square of polished CEMEX concrete was built as a collective space where visitors can gather. Pictures published with permission from the Latvian National Museum of Art
CEMEX is a global building materials company that provides high quality products and reliable service to customers and communities in more than 50 countries. Celebrating its 110th anniversary, CEMEX has a rich history of improving the well-being of those it serves through innovative building solutions, efficiency advancements, and efforts to promote a sustainable future.