Exhibition of prize-winning entries

Welcome to the exhibition of the prize-winning entries of the sketch design competition for the future vision of the TabFab Quarter in the theatre house “Horse Post Station” of the Latvian Academy of Culture!

A few weeks ago, on 7 December, the Latvian architectural office “NRJA” or “No Rules Just Architecture” was announced as the winner of the international sketch design competition for the development of the vision of the TabFab Creative Quarter (at Miera iela 58a).

According to Kitija Gruškevica, chairperson of the jury and board member of the SJSC “Valsts nekustamie īpašumi”: “the prize-winning solution is brave, original and attractive not only to the local community but to foreign visitors as well. In this vision, the jury saw a strong composition, architects’ understanding of the urban environment and a skilful design which masterfully combined the needs of the community of the creative quarter”.

While the winners of the competition are negotiating the elaboration of the construction design, we kindly invite you to the exhibition displaying the best entries of the competition!

The exhibition in the theater house “Horse Post Station” at Dzirnavu iela 46 is open to visitors on weekdays from 9 a.m. till 5 p.m., as well as before theater performances until 1 February 2019.

The SJSC “VNĪ” organised the competition in partnership with the Latvian Ministry of Culture, the Latvian Academy of Culture and the Danish Cultural Institute.

The entries submitted to the competition were evaluated by an international jury consisting of architects from Latvia and Denmark: Jānis Dripe, Agrita Maderniece, Gvido Princis, Aigars Kušķis, Gatis Didrihsons, Steen Enrico Andersen, Tanja Jordan and Agnese Hermane from the Latvian Academy of Culture who represented the new residents of the quarter. Michael Metz Mørch, Secretary General to the Danish Cultural Institute, participated in jury’s sessions as an expert and architect Dace Kalvāne acted as secretary-in-charge of the jury. Chairperson of the jury was Kitija Gruškevica, board member of “VNĪ”.

“VNĪ” plans to complete the construction and development of the Creative Quarter by the end of 2022. The total budget of the project is 5.058 million euros, of which 4.980 million euros are the funds of the European Regional Development Fund and Latvia’s budget, and 78,000 euros were provided by the Kingdom of Denmark. The budget also includes the total amount of prize money.

The Tobacco Factory Quarter and Its History

The aim of the revitalization project of the TabFab Quarter is to breathe new life into an important city district and create a new place for the creative industries where to learn and work, develop and realize ideas. There will be a business incubator and workshops of the creative industries in the quarter and specially designed spaces for the Latvian Academy of Culture, the Riga Film Museum and the Latvian Museum of Photography.

Already now the TabFab has established itself as an important venue for creative activities, since the New Riga Theater has found a temporary home in the territory of the new TabFab Quarter while construction work is underway at its former location at Lāčplēša iela 25.

The old tobacco factory is something more and not just another place to be revitalized. It is a territory with the total area of 7229 m2 and the total building area of 13,362 m2. Implementing the idea of the architectural office “NRJA” who won the competition of the TabFab Creative Quarter, this territory would not only become a creative environment for students of the Latvian Academy of Culture, museums and the business incubator of the creative industries, but also a magnet attracting local inhabitants of Miera iela and tourists alike.

The territory of the quarter (Miera iela 58/60) has a long and eventful history. In the 1900s, there was Jānis Janelis’ sausage factory, and since 1912, a tobacco factory “A.S. Maikapar” named after its founder Samuel Maikapar. The owner of the factory wanted to build a new three-storey production block designed by the outstanding architect and engineer Paul Mandelstamm (1872–1941) who was the author of more than 70 masonry buildings in Riga.

During the first Republic of Latvia, it was one of the largest and technically most advanced tobacco factories producing more than 2.5 million different brands of cigarettes a year. The company’s products were exported to America, China, India, Africa, Europe and Russia. In 1940, the factory was nationalized and became “Riga Tobacco Factory”.

In 1992, a Latvian-Danish joint venture “House of Prince Riga” was founded on its basis. After several changes of the name and owners, the factory was closed in 2009. For several years, the quarter had been a venue for various creative events. A part of the oldest building was renovated until 2017 and it became a temporary residence of the New Riga Theater during the restoration period of its historic building.