In parallel with the restoration and construction works at the new home of the Museum of Literature and Music (RMM) at Mārstaļu iela 6, preliminary work on the RMM exhibition objects and related technological solutions is planned to start in July. A solution has also been found to cover the accumulated construction cost increase says Jelena Gavrilova, Member of the Board of SJSC Valsts nekustamie īpašumi (VNĪ).
“The most difficult phase in the restoration of the historic, 400-year-old building is now behind us, i.e. the structural reinforcement works have been carried out, the roof has been almost completely restored, the previous layering has been cleaned off and work on the façade has started. Keep in mind that the renovation of centuries-old buildings is a very slow process, as every step of the way there can be surprises that take extra time and money to fix. The project has also undoubtedly been affected by the soaring costs of construction materials and labour in recent years. We are therefore pleased that a solution has now been found to cover the increase in costs and, at the same time, we can start preliminary work on the exhibition,” explains Gavrilova.
As an example of the complicated progress of works, the VNĪ Board Member mentions the new elevator - unique archaeological artefacts from the founding era of Riga were discovered near the elevator shaft last year. The shaft has now been completed, but additional archaeological investigations delayed construction by several months. At the same time, these discoveries and other unforeseen works have led to the redesign of the basement's engineering solutions. Changes to the construction solutions were also necessary to preserve the murals that were revealed last year and to specify the heating and ventilation openings in the façade.
Funding of EUR 1.6 million (excluding VAT) for additional construction and design work, as well as to cover the increase in construction costs, has been found by reallocating funds from other cultural facilities, where savings have been made and the reallocation of money does not affect the progress of work. The Cabinet of Ministers has approved the reallocation of funds from the Ministry of Culture.
At the same time, preliminary work on the exhibition and museum premises will start in July. In particular, a call for tenders will be launched for the major procurements needed to set up the exhibition - the manufacture and subsequent installation of exhibition objects and related technologies. The amount needed to develop the objects and technology is expected to be finalised after the application process begins in August. The 2023 draft allocates EUR 1.7 million for this purpose. The installation of the RMM exhibition will be completed in 2024.
The roof of the historic building at Mārstaļu iela 6 has now been almost completely restored, the necessary structural reinforcement has been completed, the restoration and utility systems have been partially completed, and the façade has been restored. During previous demolition work, worthless overlays and redundant partition walls built over the past decades were eliminated. At the same time, research and design work for new construction solutions continues.
Restoration of the interior wall murals and the entrance portal will be essential for the next phase of work. The composition of the main façade has been preserved since 1823. The façade has three axes of windows and is oriented towards the main street in accordance with medieval city planning, while the main body of the building is hidden inside the block. The main accent is the ornate rococo portal, an 18th-century art monument of national importance, located in the central part of the main façade. The ground floor of the main façade, reconstructed in 1905 according to a design by prominent Riga architect Vilhelm Bokslaf, has also survived to the present day.
In the summer of 2024, the 1,400 square metre premises of the Mārstaļu street building are expected to house the RMM’s permanent exposition, hold exhibitions and provide a landscaped courtyard for creative events. Renovation works on the historic building have been carried out by JSC UPB since the summer of 2021 in accordance with the design by Arhitektu birojs Krasts.
About SJSC State Real Estate
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 maintenance for 371 building and structure properties, comprising 1,007 buildings with a total area of 0.97 million m2, as well as land beneath structures with a total area of 607 ha, and 3,404 land properties with a total area of 883 ha. VNĪ 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 operational sustainability. The company was founded in 1996 and the Ministry of Finance is its sole shareholder.