Big changes are coming to a decrepit medieval brewery in the small town of Cēsis, Latvia. As part of a plan to transform the historic Cēsis Beer Brewery into a new hub for science and arts education, RTU International Architecture Summer School students of the Building Works Unit designed and built a luminous Night Train to serve as the beacon of change for the Latvian brewery. Built entirely from locally sourced Latvian pine, this glowing piece of kinetic event infrastructure slides along a wooden track to guide guests through a series of spaces and uses.
Made from light-colored timber, the Night Train provides a sharp contrast to its stone and brick surroundings. Its slim horizontal form, comprising a 13-meter-long raised track and mobile timber-framed ‘carriage,’ provides a foil for the adjacent wide brick chimney tower belonging to the former boiler house. At night, a lantern inside the carriage casts a bright yellow light diffused by a fine timber fringe that hangs on all four sides. The project was prefabricated nearby and was assembled in two days.
As the Night Train moves, guests are taken through four distinct stages beginning with the Table Lamp at the lower end. Here, the glowing fringed carriage serves as a beacon drawing guests in from the brewery entrance and welcomes guests with a picnic table of drinks. At the second stage ‘Beacon,’ the carriage is moved to illuminate the brick chimney tower and guests can ascend small set of stairs to explore the walkway. Following is ‘Stage,’ where the carriage is positioned above a large clearing and doubles as a DJ booth for an impromptu dance floor below. Finally the carriage reaches its terminus at ‘Lantern,’ where the timber structure is cantilevered over a boundary stonewall and projects light into the adjacent Castle Park.
Images by Kaspars Kursišs, AnsisStarks, and Building Works Unit