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The Andrejsala Detailed Plan: Well-Researched and Beneficial for the Latvian Capital

 

The Andrejsala detailed plan remained a subject of extensive debate throughout its development stages and public discussions. A number of experts specialising in different areas have formulated their views on some of the solutions proposed in the detailed plan in reviews at the Rīga City Architect’s Board, the Latvian Architectural Society's (LAS) discussion club, and the Council for Preservation and Development of Rīga’s Historic Centre, or in person. Here we have collected an overview of what the more prominent urban planning experts and architects had to say about the Andrejsala detailed plan.

 

 

Expert Views

 

Architect Dainis Bērziņš, reviewer at the LAS discussion club: ‘In terms of vastness and depth, the plan for redeveloping this urban district is of an unprecedented analysis. Nothing of the kind has been carried out in Latvia before. Its impact would by and large be positive, so Rīgans can expect economic, aesthetic and ecologic benefits. Rīgans will gain a new and refined waterfront of the Daugava in the very city centre, plus the entire territory's degradation will be reversed, by also preserving the notable buildings that have heritage value.’

 

Jānis Asaris, the deputy head of the State Inspectorate for Heritage Protection: ‘In the heritage protection aspect, the detailed plan proposes a range of positive outcomes: the using of the historic railway in the new layout, the impression given by the overall outline, the intention to preserve the old buildings – the power station, the customs building, the old silo and the Krasta railway station – as well as the envisioned green promenade connecting the district to Viesturdārzs.’

Gvido Princis, head of the City Development Department of the Rīga City Council (head of that Department’s Urban Planning Division during the LAS discussion): ‘This is the most significant project that has been proposed in the recent history. Its finalisation secures support, acknowledgement and the sign-off by the authorities. This is how we create new urban environments, by building a composition of new structures that are both necessary and welcome.’

Review by Sigurds Grava, reviewer with the Rīga City Architect’s Board / Professor of Urban Planning, Columbia University, NYC / Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade & Douglas Inc., Vice-president / American Institute of Certified Planners, PhD 

 

Review by Andris Bērziņš, reviewer with the Rīga City Architect’s Board / Andris Bērziņš + Associates, Chartered Arcitects, London / Royal Institute of British Architects

 

 

The Latvian Architectural Society's discussion club

 

At the Latvian Architectural Society's (LAS) discussion club, a round-table debate was held on the topic of Andrejsala's detailed plan's finalised version on the 14th of February 2008. The participants of the meeting focused on local issues such as the future layout and organisation of its public space, the intended solutions of the Daugava embankment area, connections between Andrejsala's and adjacent areas' greens as well as the future crossings of the river.

 

A number of architects and representatives of various organisations were present: Rīga City  architect Jānis Dripe, the head of the State Inspectorate for Heritage Protection (VKPAI) Juris Dambis, the head of the Rīga City Council's City Development Department's Urban Planning Division Gvido Princis, representatives of the two companies that developed the detailed plan, SIA Grupa 93 and SIA Forma, the Andrejsala property developer SIA Jaunrīgas attīstības uzņēmums, representatives of the Latvian Construction Engineers' Society, etc.

 

Dainis Bērziņš, an architect who reviewed the detailed plan, formed a generally positive opinion on the project. When queried whether the new development would improve or complicate the local situation and that of Rīga as a whole, to which he responded that the impact would by and large be positive and that Rīgans could expect both economic, aesthetic and ecologic benefits. On another note, several risks were pointed out, which were seen as natural, considering the size of the project and related investment as well as the fact that a number of other districts would be redeveloping within the same period of time. The discussion also touched upon the need, along with the development of the district, to introduce adequate transport infrastructure, which would serve the locals and help to avoid causing hindrances for the neighbouring areas. According to a recommendation by Jānis Asaris, the deputy head of the VKPAI, the development could start with renovation of the historic structures.

 

The discussion paid special attention to future transport solutions, including the Hanza crossing creating a new route across the Daugava, which may take the form of a bridge or a tunnel and which the Rīga City Council is currently researching in greater detail. The detailed plan for Andrejsala currently includes a tunnel but also leaves open the possibility to introduce a bridge-based solution. However, the discussion also concurred that the specific problem areas of the crossing are outside the scope and authority of the detailed plan; they do require a thorough evaluation within the entire city's development plans.

 

Andrejsala's detailed plan foresees a high-quality living and working environment for Rīgans that would remain relevant also in 10 to 15 years' time, by proposing an environment whose composition and function would be in harmony with the entire Latvian capital's infrastructure and pace of life.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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