Riga circus building renovation and territory development
A multi-functional place for circus art, music and other events
The competition: Riga Circus is a heritage building at the heart of the city, a unique construction dedicated to the circus arts in the Baltic states. The heritage aspects seem to be the best asset of Riga Circus but also its limitation in terms of artistic programming and the many activities such organisation should be able to host. A need for a new architectural construction, situated at the back of the historical building, has arisen. It should be a symbol of both past and future, of traditional circus and the contemporary one – a historical journey.
The proposal: The culture and education spaces of the new Riga Circus have been opened to the citizens to capitalize on the very central location of the building. To achieve that, a clear, linear structure has been proposed and linked with a pedestrian passage-way along the south side of the building site. Multiple raised urban exploration paths have been proposed in the open pedestrian passage. An unforgettable view of the Circus buildings and the cityscape has been provided by raising the urban exploration paths above the roofline. They create a unique architectural experience, allowing for unexpected perspectives, thus leading the viewer into a circus-like atmosphere. The urban exploration path is a symbolic vascular system that gives back life to the quiet inner courtyard. The more people move along the „blood vessels”, the more dynamic the life in the block. The architectural character of the complex is a symbiosis of the historical and the contemporary. It is driven by the belief that the building of the contemporary circus arts should also convey its message visually within the urban environment. By moving towards a more contemporary understanding of the circus arts we also must change the way we interact with architecture that represents it. The historical facade is restored as of the 19th and 20th century. The new black box stage serves as a visual backdrop for the historical building and its placement in the middle of the building site minimizes its emphasis from street perspectives, yet opening up for the pedestrians passing through the open passage-way.