The ridgepole celebration wreath raised on top of Latvian National Arts Museum
Today, on 29 October, Chairman of Riga City Council Nils Ušakovs, Deputy Chairman of Riga City Council Andris Ameriks, Minister of Culture Dace Melbārde, Director of the Property Department of Riga City Council Oļegs Burovs, Director of Latvian National Arts Museum Māra Lāce, and Board Member of SIA RE&RE Didzis Putniņš were present at the ridgepole celebration in the main building of Latvian National Arts Museum at 10a Krišjāņa Valdemāra Street. They saw the construction process and had a look at the completed parts of the new underground space.
Dace Melbārde, Minister of Culture of the Republic of Latvia: "The ridgepole celebration is one of the most remarkable events in any construction process because the installed rafters give the building its overall shape. Now the renovation of Latvian National Arts Museum has come to this stage. The event we are celebrating today brings us closer to the moment when the unique pieces of Latvian art, which we can currently see in pictures on what I believe to be the most beautiful fence in Riga, will be back on the renovated walls of the museum again for everyone to enjoy them in their full beauty, and this building will re-open its doors to welcome new art projects in new and modern premises."
Nils Ušakovs, Chairman of Riga City Council: "This is one of the largest renovation projects in the city in the sector of culture since 1991. And an excellent example of cooperation between Riga Municipality, the State of Latvia, and Europe. What has been started must be continued in order to put in order other significant facilities in Riga, and this is what we have included in our plans. After this ridgepole celebration, everyone will, of course, return to their daily work, but now I want to congratulate everyone and wish the builders to carry on the commenced work responsibly and at the same pace. "
Andris Ameriks, Deputy Chairman of Riga City Council: "I would like to say at this moment that Riga City has the honour of serving culture. Now that we raise the ridgepole celebration wreath above the Latvian National Arts Museum today, I am proud to mention that Riga Municipality has also been able to renovate other facilities which we may call home of Latvian culture – Ziemeļblāzma Community Centre, the Latvian National Theatre, and the Russian Drama Theatre. And this ridgepole wreath today is a symbol for further effort to have even more facilities like this in Riga.”
"The Latvian National Arts Museum is happy to enjoy this historical and symbolic moment, which is the end of the construction work and the starting point of the next stage as the completion of the renovation operations draws nearer even more rapidly. It will take several months for the museum to fully return to the renovated and new premises. We do wish to be available to our visitors as soon as possible and plan to have our first permanent expositions and opening displays ready before the spring of 2016," proudly says Māra Lāce, Director of Latvian National Arts Museum.
"40% of the planned reconstruction, renovation, and the new underground space construction operations have been completed until now. The previous museum area has, in fact, doubled from 4,704 to 8,249 square metres. More than 120 workers perform the work at the site daily. The reconstruction and renovation operations are complex and large-scale, and involve many Latvian specialists and experts. At today's ridgepole celebration, when we have already completed one stage of the work, let me thank everyone involved and encourage to proceed as responsibly as before," Director of Riga City Council Property Department Oļegs Burovs informs about the work at the museum.
"The ridgepole celebration is always a special event for the builders. It symbolises the completion of the biggest part of the construction work and the targeted start of the next phase of the construction. Today, we are happy to raise the ridgepole celebration wreath above one of the national arts and culture facilities. We trust that everything we are building today is being built for the future, and we therefore feel proud about what has been completed until now and are committed to continue our work to make sure that Latvian National Arts Museum can welcome its visitors again soon," says RE&RE General Manager Didzis Putniņš.
The central entrance façade on the side of Krišjāņa Valdemāra Street has been renovated until now. It has been prepared for the paint finish work. The complex renovation of the sandstone banister and pillars of the central façade stairs is continuing simultaneously. The installation of the metal beams of the dome covering is about to be completed. The construction work is continuing in the historical part of the building, including plastering of the walls and reinforcement of the pillars with metal structures. The interior works are ongoing, and the surfaces to be renovates, including the windows and the doors, are being prepared for the renovation. The installation of the reinforced concrete structures will be completed and the installation of the utilities and the interior works will start in the newly constructed underground space during the winter months.
Several additional expert examinations and structural tests have been carried out with regard to the technical solutions of the construction design. Hydrogeological surveying, technical examination and test loading of the dome of the historical building and the steel beams of the new building were performed to reassure that the solutions offered in the construction design are safe and of high quality.
The contract on the reconstruction, renovation and extension of Latvian National Arts Museum was signed between Riga City Property Department and SIA RE&RE on 22 January 2013. The costs of the construction operations total to 34 million Euros, with 21 million Euros of this amount being covered by Riga Municipality. Approximately 13 million Euros is the co-funding provided by the European Regional Development Fund for the renovation and reconstruction of the historical building of the museum (Agreement No. 3DP/18.104.22.168.0/10/APIA/CFLA/020/006 on the implementation of the project "Reconstruction of the Building of Latvian national Arts Museum at 10A Kr. Valdemāra Street in Riga" and Agreement No. 3DP/22.214.171.124.0/12/APIA/CFLA/003/001 on the implementation of the project "Renovation of the Building of Latvian National Arts Museum and Improvement of the Infrastructure at 10A Kr. Valdemāra Street in Riga"). Public funding in the amount of 345,000 Euros was assigned for the reconstruction of the museum. The main building of the museum at 10a Krišjāņa Valdemāra Street was built between 1903 and 1905 for the needs of Riga City Museum of Arts and Riga Society for Promotion of Arts. The author of its design and the first director of the museum was the Baltic German architect and art historian Vilhelms Neimanis (1849–1919). This national architectural monument has been used without any major repairs for already 107 years.