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Competition: TabFab Creative Quarter, Riga

Latvia’s State Real Estate enterprise has launched a contest to transform a former tobacco factory into an arts complex in Riga (Deadline: 26 November)

The open competition seeks ‘well-developed and economically justified’ concepts to convert the state-owned post-industrial complex on Miera Street – close to the city’s UNESCO World Heritage zone – into a new business incubator and workshops.

The €4.6 million TabFab Creative Quarter project aims to revitalise the 7,300m² site while also upgrading its surrounding public realm and delivering a landmark new entrance.

TabFab Creative Quarter contest site, Riga

TabFab Creative Quarter contest site, Riga

Source: Image by Jaunais Rīgas Teātris

TabFab Creative Quarter contest site, Riga

According to the brief: ‘The aim of the competition is to obtain a high-quality architectural solution, a functionally well-developed and economically justified sketch design and architectural vision for complete development of the TabFab Creative Quarter that meets the requirements set out in the competition brief, the designing programme and the laws and regulations.

‘The development concept should include the architectural and functional solutions for the creative business incubator located in the territory of the TabFab Quarter, solutions for the entrance to the creative quarter, solutions for prototyping and other workshops as well as solutions for the overall improvement and landscaping of the territory, including solutions for the demolition or conversion of separate buildings.’

Riga, originally founded as a Viking trading post during the second century, is Latvia’s capital city with more than 640,000 inhabitants.

Its 438ha historic centre features many Baroque and Art Nouveau structures. It was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage zone 21 years ago and designated a 1,574ha ‘buffer zone’ to protect its surroundings.

The competition judging panel will include representatives from the Latvian Ministry of Culture, Latvian Architects’ Association, Latvian Academy of Culture, and the Riga City Architect’s Office.

Submissions will be judged on their architectural quality, originality, contextual response, compliance with planning policy, energy efficiency, and conceptual approach to the surrounding area.

The overall winner will receive a €18,000 prize while a second prize of €14,000, third prize of €10,000 and four further prizes worth €2,000 each will also be awarded. The competition languages are English and Latvian.

How to apply

Deadline

The deadline for applications is 5pm local time on 26 November

Contact details

Paula Ozoliņa
State Real Estate
40003294758
Vaļņu iela 28
Riga
LV-1980
Latvia

Tel: +371 67024672
Email: paula.ozolina@vni.lv
Fax: +371 67024909 

View the contract notice and visit the competition website for more information


The Coachworks case study: Q&A with Carl Turner

The founding director of Carl Turner Architects discusses lessons learned designing a competition-winning new arts complex for Ashford, England

How will your project transform a disused former industrial complex into a new creative quarter for Ashford?

Our proposal splits neatly into three distinct components with differing but aligned programmes. A Victorian Corn Store (previously converted to a workspace/furniture showroom) has minimal intervention to form new incubator workspace, both individual ‘studios’ and a co-work space. A 1970s steel-framed shed, redundant but previously used as a youth theatre, is stripped back to the frame and re-clad in polycarbonate to create the ‘hothouse’, a combined food, drink and events space. An existing yard becomes a new courtyard space connecting the buildings and functions. We have proposed a new pergola structure to signal the entrance and bleacher seating to encourage open-air performances and summer cinema screenings. The site is also an important stepping stone between the historic town centre and the station. We hope the project will be an antidote to overtly commercial development and provide space as a platform for local people.

Carl Turner Architects' competition-winning proposal for a £650,000 food hub and business centre in Ashford, Kent

Carl Turner Architects’ competition-winning proposal for a £650,000 food hub and business centre in Ashford, Kent

Carl Turner Architects’ competition-winning proposal for a £650,000 food hub and business centre in Ashford, Kent

Which architectural, material, visual and other methods did you harness in your design?

This was one of those slightly irritating EOIs [expressions of interest] that asked for a combination of fees, relevant past project experience case studies, and also a sketch scheme illustrating an approach to the project (with a fee for shortlisted entrants). We decided to put in a big effort in a bid to win the competition. It’s a fine balance between designing a scheme or illustrating ‘an approach’. We attempted the latter. We built a quick SketchUp model and used this to hand draw some axonometric diagrams with hand-drawn notes suggesting a range of uses for the spaces. We also produced plans and area schedules, and a series of collaged views from the street and also of the interior courtyard. We used hand sketches of the interior spaces and backed up sketches with images of some of our previous projects to show similar types of spaces full of people and activity. We also produced a night view as we were keen to show the beacon-like effect of the hothouse when lit internally.

Carl Turner Architects' competition-winning proposal for a £650,000 food hub and business centre in Ashford, Kent

Carl Turner Architects’ competition-winning proposal for a £650,000 food hub and business centre in Ashford, Kent

Carl Turner Architects’ competition-winning proposal for a £650,000 food hub and business centre in Ashford, Kent

What advice would you have to contest participants on transforming Riga’s former tobacco factory into a new creative quarter?

I would focus on strategy rather than a finite design. I think these types of projects may need to be delivered in phases around funding, and often the exact uses or organisations that are key to their successful operation may not be known at the outset, therefore any proposal needs to be inherently adaptable. My approach is always to let the buildings do the talking, by which I mean a careful analysis of the existing structures, and developing proposals to work with the existing, editing and amplifying those very qualities. Add some new layers but respect the history.

Carl Turner Architects' competition-winning proposal for a £650,000 food hub and business centre in Ashford, Kent

Carl Turner Architects’ competition-winning proposal for a £650,000 food hub and business centre in Ashford, Kent

Carl Turner Architects’ competition-winning proposal for a £650,000 food hub and business centre in Ashford, Kent

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