Dailes Theatre square refurbishment, Riga, LV, competition, 1st prize, 2019 - 2023
GRAND PRIX in Latvian Architecture Award 2023
The theater is a beloved cultural destination and an outstanding example of modernist architecture. The landscaping principles and materials characteristic of theater architecture and the spirit of modernism have been preserved, and a new strategy of movement and its use has been created, aiming to make the square accessible and friendly to everyone.
The transport infrastructure in Riga places the driver and cars as the main actors. Until now, the forecourt of the Daile Theater illustrated this ideology, allowing theater visitors to park their cars right at the theater door, in a square that was originally intended as a gathering place for people and a part of the theater's architecture.
Similarly, in the conflict between trees and engineering communications in Riga, the latter continue their victory march. On most of the sidewalks in the streets of Riga, there is no possibility to plant trees. The reconstruction project of Daile Theater Square changes the usual course of development, prioritizing people's well—being and new sustainable greenery, providing new plants throughout the area of the square and also in the immediate vicinity of the main facade of the theater.
During the work process, modeling the construction volumes of the theater building, we tried to trace the thought of the theater building architect Marta Staņa and find the proportions and relationships of the elements of the square, which would be in close connection with the language of the theater's forms. In a language of modernism, several gathering and recreation areas have been created in the square, and a greater connection with Šarlotes Street has been realized. The new surface of the square ensures environmental accessibility throughout the territory, creating a safer city.
The square uses sustainable rainwater management solutions that mimic the flow of rainwater in natural ecosystems. It prevents flood risks and relieves the burden on rainwater drainage systems, improves the quality of public outdoor space and promotes biological diversity in the city. A rainwater collection and sewer has been implemented in the square — a green area, which at the same time creates a barrier to Brīvības Street.
On the square, granite steps and street curbs were reused for the new stairs. The original glazed bricks in the pavement have been carefully dismantled and reused in a brick line through the entire area. The experience of Daile Square teaches us to change the usual construction practices and learn techniques for building in a circular manner.
Planting of new trees and bushes, durable landscaping elements, two types of benches, bicycle parking spaces, trash cans, bollards, drinking water tap, public toilet and a place for sorting waste containers have been implemented in the square. Realized building signage of theater, advertisement banners and exhibition in the gallery.
Client: State Real Estate of Latvia and Riga City
Graphic design: Associates, Partners et Sons
Plants and trees: LABIE KOKI
Lighting solutions: Māris Važa
Photography by Ansis Starks
Construction: Kvinta BCL