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Reconstruction and restoration of the Latvian National Museum of Art building nominated for the prestigious Europe Nostra 2017 award for cultural heritage

This week, on 3 November, Riga City Council Property Department received confirmation from the organisers of the prestigious Europa Nostra 2017 award that the reconstruction and restoration of the Latvian National Museum of Art building has been nominated for the prize for cultural heritage in the category “Conservation”.

Director of Riga City Council Property Department Oļegs Burovs: “The Latvian National Museum of Art building is located in a building that is an architectural monument of national important – one of the most representative objects or architecture in Riga. The reconstruction and restoration of the building exemplifies how much the Municipality and the Ministry of Culture care about the conservation of cultural values and ensuring their accessibility to the general public. The reconstruction project was implemented by preserving the Latvian cultural heritage and creating a new environment to maintain and use it. And I hope that what we have done here will also be appreciated at a European level.”

The main building of the Latvian National Museum of Art in Krišjāņa Valdemāra iela 10 was constructed from 1903 to 1905 for the needs of the Riga City Museum of Art and Riga Association of Promotion of the Arts. The author of the project and the first director of the museum was the Baltic-German architect and art historian Wilhelm Neumann (1849–1919). The contract on the reconstruction, restoration and expansion of the LNMA building was signed between the Riga City Council Property Department and SIA “RE&RE” on 22 January 2013.

The General Director of the construction company RE&RE which carried out the reconstruction and restoration of the building, Didzis Putniņš, emphasised that “the Latvian National Museum of Art, without a doubt, is one of the most important and technologically most complex projects in Latvia which has served the people for 107 years without any reconstruction and restoration. Within three years, we had to give the museum “a breath of fresh air” as a cultural and historical monument as well as integrate new structures and infrastructure to adapt the museum to the requirements of the 21st century. I am glad that the work of our team has been recognised at a European level.”

“Europa Nostra” prize for cultural heritage is the most prestigious award in the cultural heritage field and recognises the most important achievements at the European level. It is awarded for outstanding and selfless work of architects, craftsmen, experts of cultural heritage, volunteers, schools, local communities, owners of cultural monuments and the media. The prize evokes the great example to inspire creativity, innovation and new achievements. The prize is awarded in such categories as architectural heritage, industrial heritage, cultural landscape, historical parks and gardens, archaeological heritage, artworks and collections, practice and expression of non-material cultural heritage and digitalisation of cultural heritage.