This week, the winners of the “Sustainability in architecture, construction and design in the Baltics 2023” competition were welcomed in Riga, highlighting the most valuable buildings and objects in the Baltic States. The 3rd place in the nomination “The most sustainable building – public building” was awarded to Jelgava Municipality and the project implementers for the revitalization of the historical building of the block of Jelgava Vecpilsētas Street, which includes the Jelgava Old Town House and the Zemgale Restoration Center at Vecpilsētas Street 14, the House of Latvian traditions and crafts at Vecpilsētas Street 2 and café “Brokastnīca” Jāņas Asara street 1, but the 2nd place in the same nomination was won by the “Latvijas valsts meži” Customer Center building at Loka maģistrāle 2M.
The competition has been held for 9 years, the last two years covering the most valuable buildings and objects not only in Latvia, but also in the Baltic States. This competition can be considered as a practical promotion of sustainable construction and architecture concepts. Along with the competition, valuable and sustainable projects are promoted, which are worth exploring and learning from.
This year, the competition welcomed the most sustainable objects in several nominations: “The most sustainable building – residential building”, “The most sustainable project”, “The most sustainable improvement of the territory”, “The most sustainable student idea” and “The most sustainable building – public building”. It is in this nomination that the project implemented by the Jelgava Municipality was recognized as the third best – the revitalization of the historical building of the block of Vecpilsētas Street, which began as renovation projects of two separate buildings – wooden buildings of national architectural monument at Vecpilsētas Street 14 and Vecpilsētas Street 2. A completely new tourist attraction has been created at Vecpilsētas street 14 with a unique interactive exposition that tells about the interior and construction trends of the different times of ancient Jelgava and the history of the house itself. Visitors can get to know the facts about Jelgava’s wooden architecture, Jelgava’s Old Town House, its history and the restoration process. In order to make the exposition interesting for different target audiences of visitors, information about the history, reconstruction and restoration of the house is conveyed through everyday sounds and visual stories of the household. Also, a modern Zemgale Restoration Center has been established in this building. On Vecpilsētas Street 2, there is a House of Latvian traditions and crafts, in the complex of which there is a weaver’s workshop, a pottery workshop, and in the courtyard various events related to traditions and master classes are held. A cafe has been created next to the building on Jāņa Asara Street 1, which is connected to the 2nd building of Vecpilsētas Street.
In the restoration of historical wooden buildings, the principle of minimum intervention was observed, which allowed to successfully preserve the layers and historical textures of different times. The revitalization of the quarter was a joint effort of professionals, in addition to architects and builders, attracting tourism specialists, historians, exhibition creators and masters of various trades.
The two wooden buildings of the old town of Jelgava are an important example of the architecture of Latvian historical cities, which have preserved the form and spatial structure of the planning of the beginning and second half of the 18th century.
On the order of Jelgava city municipality, the construction projects were developed by “LIVLAND GROUP”, the builders – “RERE MEISTARI”, “Warss+”, the exposition was created by “DJA”, “SOLAVI”, “PUTNU STUDIJA”, “YES WE CAN”, “OVERLY”. The co-author of the block revitalization project is the Jelgava Regional Tourism Centre.
The competition “Sustainability in architecture, construction, design in the Baltics 2023” is organized by the association “Building Design and Construction Council” (BDCC, www.buvniekupadome.lv), cooperation partner – the State Control Office for Construction.