The Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art

WHY’s proposal for the new LMoCA imagines a catalytic structure designed to activate a newly masterplanned district to the north of Riga, creating a dynamic series of spaces for contemplation, experimentation, and spontaneous community building. As the first major cultural building as part of the masterplan, the museum was required to kickstart the urban and cultural energy of the new district. Physically and programmatically, the museum is envisaged as a streetscape. Its porous and village-like structure is designed to hold its own as a singular formation, and later – as the neighborhood evolves around it  –  as a important site of connectivity within continuous urban fabric.

Key info
Design Architect
Executed by Workshop HY Architecture & Design DPC
Riga, Latvia
  • 2016
  • 63,000 sq. ft.; Site: 1.5 acres
Concept Designer

The façade of the museum was inspired by a curious detail of the city’s visual texture – the traces of half-oval, half-square window portals which can be seen throughout Riga. Over the course of the 20th century, these windows were boarded up to allow for better insulation. However, the outlines of the wooden framework remains, a motif we replicated to create the rhythmic pattern of the museum façade.

A social and urban aggregator that also functions as an art museum, the building’s program was strategized to attract diverse audiences. It incorporates traditional museum functions including atrium, galleries, café, store, library and sculpture terrace while looking to the future of museums with an indoor-outdoor co-working court, an integrated amphitheater visible from within various areas of the museum, and an outdoor theater/stage that opens onto a large public park. Open and accessible from all sides, the LMoCA’s plan functions as a meandering path for the public with distinct staff and art paths for operations and logistics. WHY’s design also prioritizes constructability, focusing on integrated site, sustainability, and structural solutions for efficient and optimal year-round performance.

Local Architect
  • OUTOFBOX Architecture
Local Landscape Architect
  • ALPS
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