There is simply no room for space to spring up close to Riga’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town. As a result, the opportunity to develop a new and fully integrated living environment in the area covering almost 60,000 m² is an extraordinary one.
The Lačpleša Quarter, similar to the Rotermann district in Tallinn, has everything it needs to become a new hub and major drawcard in the Latvian capital. “The area is bursting with potential,” says Estmak Capital’s head of marketing and communication Marianna Elksnin-Vald. “There is its prime location, for starters, as well as the public spaces it offers – a thoroughfare and square that put people first, which will be ideal for public and community events.”
Designed by the renowned DUAL arhitekti (Latvia) and Archunion (Ukraine), the quarter being developed on the former industrial site will celebrate its style and heritage. The 19th-century chimney being retained on the site will serve as a landmark and reminder of its past.
The buildings will also contribute to the overall sense of history, mimicking the brickwork originally used on the site and employing a stylish but muted colour palette.
The main thoroughfare traversing the quarter will prioritise foot traffic over vehicles. This inspiring idea is based on the Dutch concept of woonerf or a ‘living street’ devised in the 1970s, at the heart of which is living, people-friendly urban space. Cars will be allowed on its streets and in its courtyards, but the focus will remain on pedestrians and cyclists.
In addition to the spaces between buildings encouraging interaction, the central square with its benches and islands of greenery will promote community life. The crowning piece of the square will be the site’s original chimney and the green terrace spiralling up around it. Along with the surrounding cafés and stores, the square will form a cosy urban hub.
Unlike many other new developments, Lačpleša will pay particular attention to landscaping, leaving long-standing trees to continue growing while adding new trees, perennial bushes and flowerbeds all around.
Steeped in tradition, Lačpleša will provide a total of 600 apartments and 14,000 m² of commercial premises – offices, cafés, stores, salons and more – at a cost of close to 50 million euros. The new development has been warmly welcomed by the local community and is already being recognised: last year it was nominated in the BRELF Awards for Latvian real estate projects and initiatives in the category of Most Ambitious Future Plans.
Construction of the Lačpleša Quarter is scheduled to begin in 2024 and is set to last for between seven and 10 years.