Riga Expo Centre
The Riga International Exhibition Centre is one of the largest and most influential private exhibition venues in Latvia. The Exhibition Centre is at the cornerstone of large-scale functions in the Baltic States, offering full service events and conferences to a variety of clients across a number of industries.
In an effort to provide sensational experiences for visitors, the Exhibition Centre sought to expand their facilities to include an auditorium, additional conference rooms, offices, and an additional exhibition space. The resulting design is prescribed to become an internationally recognizable landmark befitting the city of Riga’s 800 years of history blending the medieval with the modern.
Entering Riga by water, the landscape of the city reflects across the Daugava River with iconic buildings towering skyward similar to the tall trees in the vast Latvian forests. During the design process, we took inspiration from this initial impression, establishing a thriving public plaza and transcending the exposition center to rise above Kipsala Island.
Our leading design idea involved creating an iconic public gathering space or plaza similar to a medieval square or piazza. The plaza is an ideal location for performances, exhibitions, and other public functions. With a focus on community connectivity, the plaza enhances the Kip Island experience and is accented with a vertical tower element.
As the city of towers, Riga has an iconic horizon. Our design seeks to punctuate and enhance this historic skyline. The Exhibition Centre’s alluring tower entices visitors from across the cityscape and connects Kip Island to the rest of the city. Visitors work their way vertically through the tower’s exposition space and skylight café. Their journey culminates high above the forest canopy where visitors peek back at the historic district of Riga.
The plaza concept is reinforced through the use of the existing architecture as a backdrop veiled by the new layer of architecture composed of a tower, parking structure, and large auditorium building. The composition annexes the existing sharp-angled structures, creating alleys, niches and smaller spaces in between, reminiscent of the irregular qualities of a medieval square.
The lobby is found at the foot of the tower, leading visitors to pre-function halls and foyers before entering the auditoriums and conference rooms. All centered around the plaza, these high-ceiling spaces become an indoor continuation of the plaza, capturing sunlight in daytime and glowing back on the plaza at night. Like a translucent leaf, the branch-like fractured glass façade is part of this filtration from outdoor to indoor public spaces.
The plaza expanse connects with an indoor covered galleria. The galleria is a fitting setting for public gatherings and offers protection from the elements. The galleria is a micro-climate offering an area of refuge to those enjoying the Exhibition Centre’s plaza in inclement weather.
Implicative of a medieval fortress on a hilltop, a ramp ushers visitors to the rooftop exhibition space. This elevated vista overlooks the plaza and serves as a premium venue for special events.