Reconstruction of the Latvian National Museum of Art to be completed by 1st November 2015

Thursday, 12 June. The main building of the Latvian National Museum of Art (LNMA) at Krisjana Valdemara Street 10a is visited by Andris Ameriks, the Acting Chairman of the Riga City Council, Dace Melbarde, the Minister of Culture, Olegs Burovs, the Director of Riga City Council Property Department, Mara Lace, the Director of LNMA, and Didzis Putnins, the Board Member of SIA RE&RE. They all have gathered here to see the progress of subterranean structures construction, ongoing interior repairs and restoration of this historical building.

“Today we are accompanied by the Minister of Culture to have this unique opportunity to take a closer look on how one of the main Latvian cultural and art buildings is created. Even though the schedule for full completion is pushed back to next year’s 1st November, we can see that progress is steady and would like to inform that municipality will cover the incidental expenses,” the progress and supplementary financing aspects are explained by Andris Ameriks.

Dace Melbarde, the Minister of Culture, pointed out that “deadline set for 1 November 2015 is a reasonable compromise that will ensure full access to earmarked European funds while putting no unnecessary pressure to avoid hastiness or loss of quality.

The Minister and Mara Lace, the Director of LNMA, were very interested in construction supervision aspects of the reconstruction to ensure the safety of visitors of the LNMA. Olegs Burovs, the Director of the Riga City Council Property Department, explained that onsite monitoring is performed by Leonards Dubkevics, the Chief Civil Engineer of the Riga City Council Property Department, who has extensive experience in supervising similar projects, for example, construction of the Riga Russian Theatre and the Cultural Palace “Ziemelblazma”. “Project management process is also supervised by the respective project managers and specialists of the Department’s Construction Board. As a contracting authority we are confident that construction supervision in living up to the highest standards as we trust the professionalism of our employees,” emphasized O. Burovs.

“The current status of reconstruction and restoration – 27% of work is completed. The work is done according to the timeline set after the project was amended by architects and designers. Currently we are monitoring cracks and building subsidence, and we have identified solutions that will allow us to strengthen the building. Meanwhile we are constructing and restoring roofing structure for the existing building, performing integrated restoration of facade, creating engineering networks and working on subterranean structures for the new building,” a quick tour on the museum reconstruction and restoration progress is given by Valdis Koks, the Project Manager of SIA RE&RE.

The contract on reconstruction, restoration and expansion of the LNMA was signed between the Riga City Council Property Department and SIA RE&RE on 22 January 2013. Construction costs exceed 34 million euros, of which approximately 21 million euros are Riga City Council funds. Around 13 million euros are co-financed from the European funds earmarked for restoration and reconstruction of the Museum’s historical building. The state has granted 345 000 euros.

The main building of the museum by the address Krisjana Valdemara Street 10a was constructed between 1903 and 1905 and its residents were the Riga City Art Museum and the Riga Kunstverein (Art Society). Project author and first museum director was German architect and art historian Wilhelm Neumann (1849-1919). This architectural monument has seen no capital repairs for 107 years. Initially, construction was planned for completion in 2015, but technical difficulties during reconstruction have pushed back the deadline.