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Dailes Theatre garden opens: a place to relax and get inspired in Riga’s urban environment


On Thursday, 15 June, representatives of the Ministry of Culture, Riga City Council, VAS ‘Valsts nekustamie īpašumi’ (VNĪ), Dailes Theatre, ‘MADE arhitekti’, and building contractor Kvinta BCL gathered at Dailes Theatre for the official opening ceremony of the Dailes Theatre garden, making this renovated urban space available to the citizens.

 ‘We create our own environment, and our environment creates us, too. This dialogue, this two-way exchange results not only in the mood and the image of this cultural space but also in a balanced urban environment that offers an inviting place for the theatre’s audiences and for people in general. In recent years, Dailes Theatre has experienced an artistic renaissance and a careful and respectful improvement of its prominent Modernist-style building and the area in front of it,’ Minister of Culture Nauris Puntulis emphasised.

‘We are happy to see the efforts of the national and Riga municipal governments in renovating the garden complex succeed: we joined our forces and resources to create another area in the city that is well-equipped for the enjoyment of local residents and guests.. One cannot imagine modern urban design without sustainable solutions, and these were included in every piece of this project,’ Renārs Griškevičs, VNĪ Board Chairman, said in his official speech.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Riga City Council Mārtiņš Staķis stated: ‘I am very happy to see the work that VNĪ, Riga City Council, Ministry of Culture, and other parties have done in this project together. The space has changed drastically, and the garden now is a new and modern element of Riga’s urban environment, a place to spend an enjoyable time next to Dailes Theatre. It’s important to stress that with the end of the renovations, the area is made accessible to everyone, including people with functional disabilities, thanks to its level surfacing. This is a well-designed project that makes Riga’s urban environment even more accessible and convenient.’

An urban gathering space has been created at the Dailes Theatre entrance, a recreation area has been set up in a previously degraded environment, with greenery planted in the section adjoining Šarlotes street and platforms for enjoyable recreation, while the gallery under the lobby activates pedestrian traffic. The space has a separated one-level surface for pedestrians, cyclists, and cars, which makes it accessible to everyone. A rainwater infiltration basin with greenery is set up in the lowest part of the garden: a modern solution for sustainable drainage of rainwater.

Miķelis Putrāms, the project’s chief architect (‘MADE arhitekti’), stressed: ‘This improvement project has been a test of the ability of all of the parties involved in it to work together. Whenever an architect is to change a public space in Riga’s centre, they have to listen to all possible opinions, get approvals from all of the authorities involved, and inspire the builders, showing that the solutions are feasible. While we can often be critical about bureaucracy in Riga and in our country, working together means dealing with actual people and actual specialists, and I am thankful to all of the people who helped this project come to fruition.’

‘The old Dailes Theatre garden is reborn. It is clean, green, and modern. It is a great benefit to the theatre, and most importantly, to the public at large. We look with joy at how people are returning to garden: there are our audience members meeting before shows, passers-by taking a break, people coming to rest under the new trees. The garden is alive again. And the old box office building is about to become a new cafe with an extensive outdoor terrace.  The way our theatre looks on the outside is vital too, and thanks to Riga City Council and VNĪ, it has got a new impressive visual addition to its facade. Good for us, and good for theatre-goers,’ head of Dailes Theatre Juris Žagars said.

The garden space at Dailes Theatre is owned by the municipality and the state. The Bruniņieku Street section, the Brīvības Street section up to the theatre box office, and most of the theatre patio area are managed by VNĪ, while the rest of the Brīvības Street section, from the box office to Matīsa Street, belongs to Riga Municipality. VNĪ took the overall initiative in the implementation of the project.

The project is financed through the funding raised by the Ministry of Culture through national government financing (including the COVID-19 financing aimed at strengthening the economy through investment in construction) and through the Growth and Employment EU Fund operational programme and the fourth project application selection round ‘Preservation and renovation of cultural heritage in the historic centre of Riga and the development of associated infrastructure’ as part of the programme’s specific support goal 5.5.1 ‘Preserve, protect, and develop significant cultural and natural heritage, and develop services associated with it’, ‘Environmental protection and resource use efficiency’ priority field.

The photographs are available HERE.  

VNĪ successfully works on 44 national projects, 24 of which are undergoing construction. The total implementation budget of the projects exceeds EUR 336 million. VNĪ provides professional real estate management and administration for 352 building and structure properties, comprising 1000 buildings with a total area of 0.95 million square metres, as well as land beneath structures with a total area of 607 hectares, and 3460 land properties with a total area of 907 hectares. SRE is one of 23 Latvian companies that received the highest platinum award in the Sustainability Index evaluation of the Institute for Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility, demonstrating good governance and sustainability of its operations. The company was founded in 1996 and the Ministry of Finance is its sole shareholder.