Continuing the reconstruction works in the oldest – convent (kastel) – part of Riga Castle, removing the wooden mezzanine covering, the original spaciousness of the Chapel was restored; restoration works of the Remtera Hall ceiling in its original height are also currently taking place. Yesterday, on 22 September, the Riga Castle Restoration Council decided to preserve the hypocaust oven discovered in the spring of this year.
Currently, Riga Castle renovation works are taking place in both castle renovation stages. Within the scope of works, except for the mezzanine coverings in both the Chapel, and Remtera Hall - the original height of the ceiling is restored. The covering has already been removed in the Chapel, restoring the previous visual appearance; however, during the reconstruction works of Remtera Hall, it was discovered that additional safety solutions will be required to guarantee the stability of the columns immured in the wall of the hall and historical constructions.
Alongside removing the above-mentioned mezzanine coverings and additional safety measures for the resilience of constructions, the best possible technological solutions are considered to maintain the 600 year-old hot air or hypocaust oven discovered during archaeological excavations this spring, in its historical place. The solution provides for combining the discovery with the elevator planned in the project, thus making the exposition of the castle optimally available to every visitor of the museum.
Renārs Griškevičs, Chairman of the Board of the State Joint-Stock Company “State Real Estate”: “We scrutinise every finding with the utmost care; the renovation project of the kastel part of the castle is rich in discoveries and technologically complicated. I believe that by cooperating with the builders, architects and cultural heritage preservation experts, we will create the best solution for the preservation of historical evidence, and make them available to every museum visitor in the future. We have to be flexible in our solutions if we discover new historical evidence during the course of work.”
According to the discoveries, Riga Castle Restoration Council decided to re-design the placement of the elevator in order for visitors to be able to access the first floor from the basement. Re-designing will allow the old hypocaust oven to be preserved in its original place and ensure that the premises can both be visited and accessed. In the third stage of the castle renovation, the elevator will also additionally be constructed, which will allow the basement of the castle to be connected to the first and second floor.
Ojārs Spārītis, Head of the Riga Castle Supervision Council, Vice-president of the Latvian Academy of Sciences: “We discussed several versions offered by the designers and adopted the most optimum choice. The selected solution allows us to create a museum visitation route from the elevator, which will be constructed in the third phase; every visitor, including those with impaired mobility, will be able to access the elevator.”
For the Riga Castle restoration project in 2014, a special Riga Castle Restoration Council (RPAP) has been created. President of the Latvian Academy of Sciences, Ojārs Spārītis, is Chairman of the Council, with Renārs Griškevičs, Chairman of the Board of SRE being Deputy Chairman. Another 15 representatives are present in the council, including from the State Administration for Cultural Heritage, State Real Estate, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Finance, responsible departments of Riga City Council, museums, as well as architects and conservators.
The restoration of the kastel of Riga Castle is taking place under the leadership of SRE. JSC “LNK Industries”, with which a contract has been concluded for 12.43 million euros (excluding VAT), is carrying out the construction of the first and second stages of the kastel of Riga Castle by investing the state budget funding attracted by the Ministry of Culture, and construction works commenced in autumn 2020. It is planned to complete the construction works in 2024 so that the National History Museum of Latvia can return to the premises. The restoration of the convent of Riga Castle is carried out according to the construction project developed by GP “Rīgas Pils Kastelas projekts”, the author of which is the architect Reinis Liepiņš. While the castle is under construction, the public has the opportunity to take a virtual 3D tour of the most important part of the restored castle video.
Last year, under the conditions of the pandemic, 17 national development projects with a total budget of 29.5 million euros were completed under the leadership of SRE. Under the conditions of the pandemic, in accordance with the precautionary and safety requirements, work at 43 national construction sites with a total project budget of 156 million euros continues under the management of SRE. SRE provides professional real estate management and administration for approximately 400 real estate properties with 1100 buildings of 1.02 million square metres and more than 3600 land properties with an area of 9.6 million square metres. SRE was founded in 1996, 100% owned by the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Latvia.