ALBERTA SQUARE RENOVATION

U-R-A | United Riga Architects as Architects

ALBERTA SQUARE RENOVATION CONCEPT AND TRIBUTE TO THE RIGA BLACK BALSAM CREATOR ABRAHAM KUNCE. The Albert square is a place where Riga was born as a city. Here was the first Riga port and the first settlement of the ancient Latvians, which is documented by the archeological excavations. It was a challenge to combine the historical and cultural heritage with the modern requirements to the square as an urban public place and to integrate a tribute for the creator of the legendary drink known far beyond Latvia – Riga Black Balsam- medieval pharmacist Abraham Kunce, who lived just around the corner, according to historians.


The proposal preserves the structure and metaphors of the previously developed concept by M. Lejnieks, refreshing the site improvement details and installations. Lejnieks intended to put a wooden wreck model (the Riga Vessel) as the central object. Instead, we offered to put a glass in a ship silhouette form, which exhibitsthe historical evidences found in excavations. Such glass well could serve as a time machine and display the 12th century Riga, which is located beneath the town. (At the first round of the renovation it is planned that the vessel's silhouette is created as the so-called dry (no pool) fountain. This fountain type is very popular because people can walk around the fountain). Around the "Riga vessels" the ancient port of Riga metaphor is created with the help of “waves” - step "amphitheater" (since the archaeological excavations were carried out almost all over the area, the historical cultural layer was removed and the idea of lowering the central part of 1m will not affect the current cultural value) . The wooden flooring of the square reminds of the oldest streets of Riga.


The monument in honor of Kunce is located at the side of the square (not disturbing the structure)? At a place with intensive walking flow (the object will be at the center of interest). The object is solved in the form of the spiral, forming the silhouette of the Riga Black Balsam bottle. The name of the installation is “The Spiral of Kunce’s Life”. The spiral can be walked through like a tunnel, it is selfie-friendly. At the same time, it is a kind of “portal” to the square. With its concise curved line form the monument fits organically into the square, which consists of laconic wavy lines.


Competition: Alberta square renovation concept and tribute to the Riga black balsam creator Abraham Kunce. Award: First Prize

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