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SRE: The New Riga Theatre building complex put into service


The rebuilding and reconstruction of the New Riga Theatre (NRT) building has been completed: the complex was put into service on 22 December 2023. In January, the repairs will continue, the premises will be furnished, and soon the theatre will be able to gradually move into its historic home at 25 Lāčplēša Street. The keys of the building are expected to be handed over to the building user by March, informs Renārs Griškevičs, Chairman of the Board of the State Joint Stock Company "State Real Estate" (SRE).

"This is a great Christmas present for all theatre lovers: the challenging road to a renovated, state-of-the-art space is practically over. We are pleased that we have managed to meet the deadlines we agreed with SBSC in March. Now all that's left to do is to finish the interior decoration, put in the final pieces of furniture and fix the defects. And then the theatre group will be able to return to its home," says Griškevičs.

The agreement signed in March between SRE and the general partnership "SBSC" ("Skonto Būve" and "Skonto Construction") provides that the NRT building complex will be handed over to SRE in January 2024, while by 1 March next year it has to be handed over to the theatre. Work on organising the move is expected to start in the first months of the year.

"The theatre is very beautiful! We built it despite the war in Ukraine, the Covid-19 pandemic, the construction cartel, the pile scandal that led to the replacement of the construction company, numerous funding crises, the NRT strike and other obstacles. Cultural constructions are complex, and nowhere in the world do they come easily and quickly, and we are no exception. I thank the client SRE, the Ministry of Culture, the construction company "Skonto" and the many craftsmen who worked on site, our design partners "Sarma un Norde", theatre consultants "Theateradvies" and acousticians "Peutz" from the Netherlands, the NRT troupe and all the architects in our office for their cooperation. At the end of the construction, we feel like one family," says architect Zaiga Gaile.

The reconstruction and redevelopment of the NRT building complex is being carried out according to the architect Zaiga Gaile's plan and design. It is a unique and at the same time "a living project": in a dense urban area, in the historic centre of Riga, the scope of the building is almost doubled with the construction of complex underground structures. The spacious underground floor will house workshops, while the historic theatre building is complemented by a new five-storey building with two "Black Box" auditoriums, several rehearsal rooms and comfortable rooms for actors. For convenience, the two buildings are connected by a glass walkway.

The Great Hall of the theatre retains the atmosphere of a building that dates back more than a century, which is highlighted by the preserved and restored 20th-century buildings. 1930s interior elements — central hall lamp, square shaped luminaires, dark maroon pine plywood panels. At the same time, the reconstruction will allow spectators to see and hear everything from anywhere in the stalls and balcony. This was achieved by changing the floor level of the rows and rebuilding the balcony. The stage has been rebuilt to meet modern requirements, equipped with a silent winch system for moving scenery, and the deep part of the stage that houses the stage apparatus and scenery lifting mechanisms has been reconstructed, with a new three-metre high volume added to it. After the reconstruction, the Great Hall will have 322 seats in the stalls and 166 seats in the balcony.

The "Black Box" auditoriums at NRT have a feeling of "nowhere", with neutral grey concrete walls, black ceilings and floors.  The lighting and sound systems of the two state-of-the-art "Black Box" auditoriums, their digital and analogue control networks, are designed in such a way that they can be freely reconfigured to suit the needs of a particular performance. The large "Black Box" auditorium has 230 seats, while the small "Black Box" auditorium has 100 seats. The accessibility of the building for people with disabilities has also been taken into account.

More photos available HERE.

For more information about the NRT restoration, see HERE.

 About restoration of the New Riga Theatre building complex

The goal of the New Riga Theatre reconstruction and building project is to create a modern, European level theatre. Development of the construction project was commenced in 2018, whereas actual construction works were commenced in 2020.  The contract for the construction of the New Riga Theatre was concluded with the partnership SBSC for the amount of EUR 32.4 million (including indexation or payment for the increase in construction costs). Cooperation with the contractor, i.e. SBSC, is based on the ‘Design and Build’ principle which means that the contractor has overall responsibility for the construction works and allows technical challenges to be resolved more quickly.

About SJSC “State Real Estate”

SRE successfully works on 34 national projects, 14 of which are currently in construction. The total implementation budget of these projects exceeds EUR 399 million. SRE provides professional real estate management and administration for 419 building and structure properties, comprising 1049 buildings with a total area of 0.98 million square metres, as well as land beneath structures with a total area of 585 hectares, and 3385 land properties with a total area of 937 hectares. SRE is one of 17 Latvian companies that received the highest platinum award in the Institute for Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability's Sustainability Index 2023, demonstrating good governance and the sustainability of its operations. The company was founded in 1996 and the Ministry of Finance is its sole shareholder.