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Zaha Hadid Architects wins competition to design Riga Ropax Terminal in Latvia

Latvia Architecture News - May 14, 2024 - 09:56   1001 views

Zaha Hadid Architects wins competition to design Riga Ropax Terminal in Latvia

Zaha Hadid Architects has won a competition to design the Riga Ropax Terminal for a new passenger and ro-ro cargo terminal in Riga, Latvia

Zaha Hadid Architects is collaborating with leading Latvian practices Sarma Norde Architects and Alps Landscape Architects, as well as Sweco Finland to develop the project. 

ZHA’s experience delivering key transport infrastructure around the world has been complemented by the team’s extensive local understanding of the site’s social, economic and cultural importance.

Zaha Hadid Architects' design scheme repurposes an existing shipping warehouse built in 1960 into a new 20,000-square-metre ferry and cruise ship terminal. In addition, the design adds a fourth level to the structure to incorporate public terraces with panoramic views of the Daugava River and the skyline of Riga’s city centre, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Zaha Hadid Architects wins competition to design Riga Ropax Terminal in Latvia

The Ropax Ferry Terminal, Main Plaza

Referencing the orthogonal geometries of the existing building, the new terminal combines the 64-year-old reinforced concrete structure with timber obtained from certified sustainable local forests. It optimizes passenger circulation with separate arrival and departure routes, and doubles the capacity and operational efficiency of the existing port.

Featuring a large triple-height grand hall for arriving and departing passengers, large windows flood the interior with natural light and offer a magnificent river view. Vertical external wings created from locally recycled bricks serve as sunshades. These fins open appropriately to accommodate each façade's varying sunlight conditions and provide varying degrees of daylight porosity.

"It is an honour to have been selected for such an exciting project which will redefine a strategic part of the city. Combining design innovation with the highest standards of user-experience and environmental sustainability, Riga Ropax Terminal will be an architectural landmark that serves as a gateway to Riga’s future while respecting its rich history a leading port city," said Gianluca Racana, Director, Zaha Hadid Architects. 

"By re-using the site’s existing concrete structures, together with local materials from recycled and renewable sources, the new terminal will be a benchmark in environmentally responsible architecture that incorporates advanced design solutions to reduce energy demand and carbon emissions."

"With vastly improved access to the waterfront and generous amounts of new public space, the project will ensure the areas becomes a popular civic destination for generations to come," Racana explained.

Zaha Hadid Architects wins competition to design Riga Ropax Terminal in Latvia

The Ropax Ferry Terminal, Waterfront Plaza

The new terminal is expected to support Riga's planned growth along the coast and become a multi-modal transport hub for the city. The new project also connects extensive facilities for ferry and cruise ship passengers to Riga's tram and bus networks, as well as the city's taxis, tourist buses, bicycles and public services.

Due to its waide canopy, the building's spacious envelope shelters visitors using the terminal's terrace cafes and restaurants, as well as passengers using public transportation lounges.

"Honouring the long history and traditions of Latvian pottery, the terminal’s roof incorporates ceramic tiles produced in the region together with photovoltaic panels," said Zaha Hadid Architects. 

"The gentle curvature of the roof and its ceramic tiles echo the fluidity of the reflections on the surface of the adjacent Daugava River."

"Currently used as a storage yard for shipping containers, the terminal’s masterplan creates a welcoming civic plaza facing the city and a new landscaped riverside walkway that provides Riga’s residents and visitors with a variety of waterfront gardens and plazas for recreation and relaxation," the office added.

Zaha Hadid Architects wins competition to design Riga Ropax Terminal in Latvia

Ropax Ferry Terminal, Entrance Hall

The new Riga Ropax Terminal, planned for the southern part of Exportosta, will serve as one of the city's three transportation hubs. The structure will also provide high-quality civic, recreational and commercial facilities. As ZHA explained, one of the goals of the Riga Ropax Terminal will be to become the main port for cruise ships.

The terminal will include additional infrastructure for cruise ship servicing, with the prospect of a cruise line home port incorporating restaurants and cafes available to the residents of the neighbourhood with sound and air pollution reduced in the city centre and safe movement ensured. 

In the future, the new terminal is expected to serve up to 150 cruise ships, with 540 ships per year in the passenger and cargo segments. It is also estimated that it can accommodate 360 ferry vessels and 180 ro-ro vessels. In total, the new terminal could accommodate around 800,000 passengers in its first year of operation planned for 2028.

In accordance with the local plan for the southern part of Eksportosta, which has been approved by the Riga City Council, the architectural competition was open to anyone who qualified. Ten entries were received in the design competition.

The third prize was awarded to Berenblum Busch Architects from the U.S.A., the second prize went to R-Konsult from Estonia, and the first prize was awarded to Zaha Hadid Architects. A prize fund of 35,000 euros was distributed among the three winning architectural designs.

Zaha Hadid Architects unveiled design for the renovation of the Le Schuylkill Tower, the first high rise building constructed in 1963 in Monaco. The firm completed a new office and retail tower that features fluid and continuous vertical golden fins in Prague in the Czech Republic.

Project facts

Client: Riga Port Agency, SIA

Architect: Zaha Hadid Architects

Design: Patrik Schumacher

ZHA Project Directors: Gianluca Racana, Ludovico Lombardi

ZHA Associates: Davide del Giudice, Alejandro Diaz Fernandez

ZHA Team: Jose Eduardo Navarrete Deza, Maria Lagging, Luca Melchiori, Szu-An Yao, Zrinka Radic

Local Architect: Sarma Norde Architects: Jānis Norde, Mārtiņš Rikards, Nils Saprovskis, Gunda Krūmiņa

Transport Consultant: Sweco Finland: Mikko Suhonen

Landscape Architect: Alps Landscape Architects: Ilze Rukšāne, Indra Ozolina, Marc Geldof, Abdallah Omara, Egita Fabiane

Urban Design Consultant: Sweco Finland: Rysä Timo, Lasse Rajala, Robert Luther, Hanna Suomi

Top rendering © Ropax Ferry Terminal, River Facade. 

All images © Negativ/Brano Marsalek.

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