A police station built in the early 20th century in Riga, Latvia is hosting a competition to renovate the site, and architecture firm NRJA (which stands for No Rules Just Architecture – just about the coolest firm name we have heard of) has proposed to build an entirely new residential/mixed use building inside the original and cap it with an extensive roof garden. We’ve seen this trick before, but NRJA’s thoughtful approach to the project makes the design a real standout.
The brick building was designed by city architect Reinhold Schmaeling whose art nouveau style has helped define Riga. To make better use of the lot but still maintain the character of the original neighborhood, NRJA proposes to gut the building and place a five-story concrete structure inside. The concrete shell opens at all the existing windows, but when it emerges from the brick façade it takes on a life of it own. Dotted with cantilevered porches and a concrete grid, the new building is distinctly 21st century and it fits squarely into emerging trends of European design, which juxtapose old and new in innovative fashion.
The first floor holds parking for 18 cars and a gym. Offices make up the second floor, where most of the original building ends. The next three levels hold apartments, each with their own balcony. The proposal is capped off with a generous roof garden and patio, making full use of the building’s footprint.
Via Architecture Lab