An open international competition has been launched to overhaul and expand Riga’s main railway station in Latvia (Deadline: 7 November)
Open to interdisciplinary teams – the contest seeks proposals to upgrade the 14 hectare station, create a new railway bridge and regenerate a 59 hectare surrounding area.
Backed by Eiropas Dzelceļa Līnijas, the €186 million project is part of Europe’s Rail Baltica programme which will create a new direct train link between Warsaw and Tallinn.
Riga Central Station
Eiropas Dzelceļa Līnijas board member Dins Merirands commented: ‘The aim of the competition is to obtain the most appropriate sketch design for the central multi-modal public transport hub in Riga and the Rail Baltica railway bridge.
‘The competition territory covers 14 hectares and encompasses the historic central railway station of Riga, the embankment from Dzirnavu iela to Krasta iela and the planned Rail Baltica railway bridge over the River Daugava, it is situated in the central part of Riga, the capital of Latvia, which has always been one of the landmarks of the capital city.
‘There is also the study area which covers approximately 59 hectares and as a result of the competition it is intended to obtain master plan solutions for the entire development of the competition area.’
Located next to Riga Old Town – famous for its historic churches and baroque architecture – the station is widely recognised as the centre of the capital.
Originally designed by architect Johann Felsko in 1861 – the station was rebuilt in 1965 and today features a large square, shops, bus stops and a dramatic clock tower overlooking the city.
Riga Central Station
The Rail Baltica project will create a new €3.68 billion European standard gauge network replacing existing Russian gauge tracks connecting the Baltic states.
Planned to complete in 2025, the continuous 950-kilometre route will require a new bridge over the River Daugava and significant upgrades to Riga Central Station.
Submissions will be judged on their architectural quality, functionality, accessibility and logistical organisation of the construction process.
Judges include Julia Bolles-Wilson of London-based practice Bolles+Wilson and Fletcher Priest Architects partner Jonathan Kendall.
The winning team will receive €150,000 and will work with the client to further develop and deliver their concept design.
How to apply
The deadline for submissions is 12noon local time on 7 November
Tel: +371 29216531
London Bridge Station case study: Q&A with Andrew Byrne
The principal at Grimshaw discusses lessons learned expanding and upgrading London Bridge Station in England
How will London Bridge Station rebuild and enlarge one of the city’s busiest multi-modal transport hubs?
The scale of London Bridge Station ensures its status as a vital part of the city’s transport network, and once it opens in summer 2018, will provide additional capacity for approximately two thirds more passengers. The low level tracks of the terminating station and the high level tracks of the through station will be unified in a singular station identity for the first time in its history. Access to the platforms is improved with a new street level concourse, which also creates a publically accessible route through the station.
A section of the Victorian viaduct that previously severed north from south will be removed, uniting these previously disparate areas. The station concourse will also provide a new ‘room’ for London, acting as a much-needed civic space.
What considerations are there when transforming a busy interchange station in a dense historic area such as London Bridge?
There is an inevitable tension between creating open, intuitive public spaces for transport hubs and the intimate, unique granularity of dense historic areas. An equilibrium needs to be sought between a contextual design response and the functional demands of large, uncluttered volumes. The approach at London Bridge has been to study the scale, proportion and form of heritage fabric and then integrate sympathetic, but unapologetic, modern interventions. Key contributions to the streetscape, such as the strong datum of the brick railway viaduct, have been acknowledged and upheld helping to create an architectural response that is transformative yet respectful of its place.
How would you set about upgrading Riga’s main station in a way which respects its unique architectural context?
It is rare that transport hubs exist without a rich history of incremental evolution. Understanding the drive behind the growth of capacity and prominence of the station will provide a strong appreciation of the context in which one is working. But ultimately, as always, it is about people. As we continue to appreciate with greater conviction that our stations are becoming modern day town halls, community centres, and high streets; it is therefore essential that the redevelopment of Riga’s new transport hub reflects this.