mežaparks open-air stage in latvia is 'a silver grove among a natural forest'

mežaparks open-air stage in latvia is 'a silver grove among a natural forest'

Mežaparks Open-Air Stage in latvia

 

Mailitis Architects and architect J. Pogas Birojs have undertaken the reconstruction of Mežaparks Open-Air Stage, nestled within a Latvian forest. As the previous stage was built in 1955 under the Soviet regime, it didn’t meet today’s acoustic standards and safety requirements. The new structure sees a spacious venue developed specifically for a large-scale performance that brings together a huge choir of 20,000 singers from all over Latvia. This event is for the Latvian Nationwide Song and Dance Celebration, included in the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

 

According to the architects, ‘inspiration was found in ancient Baltic culture and learning from nature by constructing a mythology of the Silver Forest.’ Thus, they conceived a forest-like framework made of metal structures resembling tree trunks with branches, and wooden shields that mimic the leaves. Apart from the strong symbolism, the construction of the roof enhances the acoustics by dispersing echoes and directing the sound, where it is most needed. ‘Forest acoustics create even and spacious echoes providing one of the most suitable environments for choral singing,’ added the team.

mežaparks open-air stage in latvia is a silver grove among a natural forest
image by Madara Gritane

 

 

a community center that pays homage to local cultural heritage

 

The reconstruction aimed to improve the acoustics and enlarge the capacity of both the choir and the viewers. The artificial grove organically blends with the surrounding topography of the natural forest. The architects (see more here) opted for simple materials highlighting the Latvian aesthetic tradition, and calm curved volumes to resonate with the dunes around it.

 

‘Biomimicry of the forest has helped to find unique solutions to solve fading of the sound and uneven echoes of the extraordinarily large choir.’ The spatial analogy with the forest improves the amphitheater’s acoustics and hones a specific sound that local chorists have described as a unique ‘silver sound’.

 

The new capacity now reaches 20,000 singers on the choir tribune and 30,000 seats in the audience field. For extra audiences, the benches can be removed to allow a standing audience of 70,000. Below the chorist tribune are indoor spaces that can function as concert, conference and exhibition halls, as well as supporting facilities. The venue is transformed into a cultural and leisure hub open to the community on a daily basis, and provides adaptable space for performances, sports and events all year round. 

mežaparks open-air stage in latvia is a silver grove among a natural forest
a silver grove that blends with its natural scenery | image by Ansis Starks

mežaparks open-air stage in latvia is a silver grove among a natural forest
individual columns rise up and form a forest-like framework | image by Madara Gritane

mežaparks open-air stage in latvia is a silver grove among a natural forest
image by Madara Gritane

mezaparks-open-air-stage-latvia-mailitis-architects-designboom-6

image by Ansis Starks

mežaparks open-air stage in latvia is a silver grove among a natural forest
the wooden shields mimic the leaves of the trees | image by Madara Gritane

mezaparks-open-air-stage-latvia-mailitis-architects-designboom-2large

image by Ansis Starks

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image by Madara Gritane
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project info:

 

name: Reconstruction of Mezaparks Open-Air Stage

architects: Mailitis Architects | @mailitisarchitects, Arhitekta J. Pogas Birojs

location: Riga, Latvia
year: 2021
capacity: 90.000 people
area: 146.430 sqm
client: Riga City Council Department of City Development, Riga City Council Department of
Property
general contractors: LNK Industries RERE buve, LNK Industries

consultants:
concept: Austris Mailitis, Ivars Mailitis, Matiss Mailitis
architects: Austris Mailitis, Reiji Kobayashi, Andra Odumane, Janis Lielmanis, Deniss
Maruhlenko, Zanete Berzina, Darja Melnikova (Mailitis arhitekti)
Juris Poga, Astra Poga, Ilva Asmusa, Zanna Turova, Janis Melders, Reinis Vilnitis (Arhitekta
J. Pogas birojs)
structural engineers: LVCT, Buvinzenieru konstruktoru birojs, Strandeck,
roof membrane: Michael Kiefer (Kiefer. Textile Architectur)
acoustics: Andris Zabrauskis (RTU), Prof. Karlheinz Müller (Müller-BBM
GmbH), Michael Wahl, Harald Frisch, Juris Saprovskis (RD akustika)
photography: Ansis Starks, Madara Gritane

 

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