The Castle of Light Completed

On 6 June 2014, following a committee meeting the Riga City Construction Board has approved commissioning of the building of the National Library of Latvia or the Castle of Light as Latvians call it. This also means that the second stage of the project – landscaping of area around the Library – has been completed. This marks the conclusion of six-year long work on the biggest and technologically most complex project of modern Latvia. As a bonus, the cost indexation allowed for savings amounting to several million euros.

Māris Saukāns, the Chairman of the Council of General Partnership “Nacionālā Būvkompāniju apvienība” (NBA), thinks that the construction is real success. State and municipal institutions are also satisfied with the top quality and have taken the long-expected decision to officially make the building open to public. Despite public scepticism the deflation allowed us to save millions of euros of public funding. As I see it, Latvians can be proud that one of the most complex projects of our modern history was completed by our own companies and workers. At times the number of simultaneously employed persons reached 450 and we strived to use construction materials produced in Latvia. This is a joint achievement for us and Latvia alike. I’m confident that the National Library will become an iconic feature of Latvia and will make everyone proud,” says Mr. Saukāns.

NBA calculations show that total construction expenses for the National Library were 114.6 million lats or 163.1 million euros – the expense indexation allowed for savings of several million euros. First stage of infrastructure object construction was agreed at 8.9 million lats or 12.65 million euro. As a result, both stages constructed by NBA had the expenses decreased by several million euros off the planned 123.5 million lats or 175.7 million euro.

Building construction data:

  • Construction site area: 17,431 m2 of which 12,210 m2 is occupied by the building
  • Total building area: 40,455 m2
  • Building length, width, height: 170, 44 and 68.3 metres
  • Initial construction costs (VAT excluded): 114.6 million lats (163.1 million euros)
  • Building is supported by 501 piles with a combined length of 8.9 km
  • Used materials – concrete: 44,500 m3, reinforcement bars: 5,560 tonnes, steel: 300 tonnes
  • The roofing uses 600 tonnes of stainless steel
  • Combined cable length: 540 km
  • Combined pipeline length: 150 km
  • Total facade area: 15,300 m2
  • Total construction man-hours: approx. 4.2 million
  • Masonry wall volume: 2,190 m3
  • Total plaster board wall and ceiling area: 12,655 m2
  • Total glassed area: 13,910 m2
  • Elevated floor area: 3,707 m2
  • Trees planted: 26 apple-trees and 15 maple-trees
  • The maximum number of simultaneously employed people: 450

The National Library of Latvia was constructed by General Partnership “Nacionālā Būvkompāniju Apvienība”, which combines the resources of three major Latvian construction companies – SIA “RE&RE”, AS “RBSSKALS” and SIA “Skonto Būve”. The contract between the state and the construction companies was signed on 15 May 2008 and total expenses were less than 114.6 million lats or 163.1 million euro. Construction of the new building was completed by 20 December 2013. In Early 2014, the library staff began moving its assets, which were previously scattered around six different locations. On 6 June 2014, the National Library was commissioned and the official opening is scheduled for 29 August, when the National Library of Latvia celebrates its 95th anniversary.