Project Info

Architects: NRJA + IG Kurbads
Nrja Team: Arch. Uldis Luksevics, Arch. Linda Leitane-Smidberga, Arch. Uldis Sedlovs, Arch. Zigmars Jauja, Arch. Tech. Ivars Veinbergs, Arch. Tech. Elina Libiete
Ig Kurbads: Normunds Tirāns
Competition Status: Honorary Mention
Year: 2013
Photographs: Courtesy of NRJA + IG Kurbads


Designed by NRJA + IG Kurbads, their ‘Show Under Skin’ proposal for the reconstruction of the new Riga Theatre corresponds to the dynamism of the creative process within the theater – minimalist, smooth finish, combined with a twisted in a motion stopped volume.The skin is a multi-functional covering structure which is connected with the historical volume, covering it and combining various features and space dimensions in a single organic volume, also matching different adjacent building heights. More images and architects’ description after the break.


The New Riga Theatre is a professional repertory theatre that provides innovative art corresponding to the requirements of the independently-thinking contemporary spectator both in its content and form. The historical building in the course of time has been adapted for the needs of the theater and today has become too small to be able to absorb the growing number of spectators. It is impossible to provide large theater hall for 500 spectators with modern technical, acoustic and fire safety requirements and adequate stage space. The new large hall is planned in the courtyard. The large existing theatre hall is a witness of historical reconstructions. The hall will be reorganized into transformable hall with 400 seats, dismantling balcony, stage and auditorium sloping floor. Existing finishes, lighting fixtures and other components will be saved concealing conversion traces and exhibited.

Continuity of Tradition: Public space in the old building is maintained most authentic. In order to keep the memory of the theater, which operated in the historical building, it is planned to name halls in names of outstanding directors – the Large transforming hall – Smiļģa hall, on the 2nd floor small transforming – Shapiro hall, the new big hall – Hermanis Hall (in honor of one of the most sought-after stage directors of our time and head of the New Riga Theatre for the past 15 years).
The Skin is a barrier that separates the theater from the outside world. The new volume is a key element of the new Hermanis Hall, planned as a contemporary, technologically, aesthetically and economically appropriate theatre Hall with 500 seats. The roof hall is situated above Hermanis Hall and planned as a public space with a bar area, where major theater occasions happen and spectators enjoy theater breaks. Rehearsal hall is planned beneath Hermanis Hall.

A clear, functional layout is planned, providing actors and staff facilities easily accessible from the halls, spectators’ wardrobe and recreational facilities are convenient for use before, after and between performances. Technical facilities and workshops are located mostly underground. Skin texture is created using smooth, graphite grey concrete tiles which interprets firewall brick patterns in a contemporary way. Smooth concrete tile roof follows the shape on the wall finish creating a single, whole-scale image