ABOUT THE PROJECT
In the 3rd quarter of 2020, the Latvian parliament decided to transfer the land and the building to the Richard Wagner Society Riga. The key was ceremonially handed over on 20 October 2020. The initiator is Maris Gailis, former Prime Minister of Latvia, entrepreneur and chairman of the Richard Wagner Society in Riga.
In recent years, the association has already carried out considerable preparatory work to take stock: Civil engineers, architects and technicians have examined and surveyed the house and drawn up initial plans for its renovation. The society is the project’s sponsor on the Latvian side. All the prerequisites for a timely start to the project have been created.
RENOVATION OF THE BUILDING
The current project is conceptually based on four elements: the renovated building itself; the baroque concert hall and 19th century ballroom; and museum/exhibition. Only the combination of the above can become a brand-forming cultural product that will elicit an enthusiastic response from visitors. It is this combination that will allow the renovated Wagner House to compete with other museums and concert halls in Latvia, Northern Europe and Europe, and enrich the opportunities of residents and visitors to Latvia to enjoy quality culture and justify the resources that went into the renovation.
The museum or exhibition in the Wagner House should be considered a medium, which would be capable of transmitting the message of the meaning of the renovation to the would-be visitor. The relationship between the historical building, the personality of Richard Wagner and the musical life of baroque Riga and the rest of Europe will resonate with the culturally motivated visitor. The museum/exhibition will be the element which will contextualize the historical sources of the period — objects and/or documents from Latvian museums and libraries that have not been previously exhibited or have not been on permanent display.
The technical condition of the building is unsatisfactory: cracks in the walls have appeared because of the settling of the foundation and it is necessary to reinforce the foundation, repair the ceiling and renovate the utilities. A full cosmetic renovation and restoration of the historical elements is in order.
With the renovation of Wagner Hall several crucial gains would be made that would not only promote variety of the cultural scene and its accessibility to the residents of Latvia, reinforce the image of Riga and Latvia as an East European cultural center and its ties to Richard Wagner, but would also bring inflows of revenue that, over a period of time, would allow the invested financing to be recovered and ensure the sustainability of the project.
The most important benefits:
- Renovation of the only acoustically sound chamber music hall in Riga;
- Preservation and modernization of an architecturally important building and accessibility of a venue of cultural and historical significance for the public;
- The possibility of granting space on advantageous commercial terms to the most important cultural structural units: the chamber orchestra “Kremerata Baltica”, State Academic choir “Latvija” and VAS “Latvijas Koncerti”;
- The possibility of establishing a Richard Wagner museum;
- The possibility of co-operation with European Richard Wagner societies.
Sketches for the reconstruction of Wagner’s house by the design company “Zaigas Gailes birojs”.
Authors: arch. Zaiga Gaile, arch. Filips Pitens