Mežaparks neighbourhood in Riga is one of the world’s first garden cities. Local municipality launched an open competition in 2018 for the design of a new school building.
A public building of this scale is unprecedent in Mežaparks. The physical presence and the social role of the new school is going to make a noteworthy impact onto the neighbourhood. The design must embody the idea of continuity of architecture tradition in Mežaparks by creating a contemporary space that strenghtens the existing qualities of the neigbourhood and illuminates new ones.
The designated site is situated in the oldest part of Mežaparks with surrounding buildings having been built between 1902. and 1905. This area can be considered the starting point for Mežaparks both geographically and historically.
The adjacent houses were built during the beginning of 20th century – a period which was dominated by ideas of art nouveau – the cottagelike buildings have visually «light» facades, expressed roofs and rooms within attic space.
The character of the surrounding pitched roof buildings is adopted in the architecture of the new school creating an image that is contemporary yet rooted in local tradition. Functional units of the building are separated in different volumes – structural blocks that allow the large scale building to blend within the residential fabric.
All educational processes are organized around a central atrium space. Compared to a typical hallway structure atrium creates an environment where students of all ages meet and all activities can blend. This can happen in a visually unfied space and spark new interactions. Open and closed spaces for group work offer meeting points for various ideas.
All classrooms are located on the south facade of the building thus allowing maximum daylight availabilty to each of the students. Balconies protect form overheating during summer. The south facade opens towards a light, spacious garden with areas dedicated to both sports and recreation.