Music in its many different forms has an essential role in Latvian culture, lending communities distinct identities.The new music school in the Baltic city of Ventspils provides the region with a much needed centre of excellence.
The music school is prominently located on the main public square, Lielais laukums. The plaza, gardens and water features enrich the visitor experience and provide a fitting backdrop to the striking forms of the building.
The distinctive roof shelters a range of spaces, both indoor and out, from the extremes of the weather and lends the building a landmark character. The music school provides a range of performance spaces accessible to the public, with a classical concert hall seating 600, complimented by a smaller „black-box“ theatre, a music library and an outdoor stage and auditorium. Backstage facilities are housed over 3 floors immediately behind the stage. The interiors are distinguished by the contrast between the rectilinear form of the concert hall and informal arrangement of the surrounding foyers. The foyers are flanked by the music library, green room and extensive teaching facilities, before opening out onto Lielais laukums, in the form of terraces and balconies.
The concept for this pipe organ has been developed through a close cooperation between world famous Latvian organist Iveta Apkalna and the leading organ builders, Orgelbau Klais, Bonn, Germany.
The concept is based on a further development of the German baroque basics which enables a broad music-making tradition without placing too many limits in one particular direction. Befitting this educational institution the instrument to provide for a broad spectrum of organ literature allowing the possibility to present music of different cultures and different times, and importantly the ability to perform contemporary music.
Due to the vigorousmusical tradition in Latvia, the strong organ heritage and the unfortunate interruption due to the political history of the Baltic States the Ventspils Organ presents a rare opportunity for re-entry into the rich organ tradition and for a new focalpoint in the musical teaching practice in Latvia.
Fulfilling all these anticipations is a highly sophisticated task. Thus the developmentof a musical and artistic concept went much deeper into detail, incorporatingdiscussions with musicians and consultants rarely held in the initial stages of sucha project.
The main challenge in designing such an instrument is to create a versatile and colourful instrument with a strong personality, which, with its music, not only reaches the ears of the audience but also their hearts.
The concept, although deeply rooted in the century-long tradition of organ building, is recognizably contemporary. This is reflected in the visual appearance of the new instrument with its prospect stretching across the entire front of the concert hall. The striking visual appearance, a dynamic mixture of speaking and non-speaking pipes, has been developed in a collaboration between Orgelbau Klais and haascookzemmrich STUDIO2050 in order to ensure a rapport with the architecture in terms of appearance and detail.
The Organ is a straight two-manual instrument with Hauptwerk (Great), Schwellwerk (Swell) and Pedals. This core is enriched by a number of extended ranks which provide a wide range of colors and sounds. The idea includes the rare possibility to build sounds not only by choosing 'ready made sounds' i.e. stops at unison or octave pitch, but also by combining different available harmonics making this instrument singular among most of recent concert hall instruments all over the world.
City of Ventspils / Latvia
Local Partner Architect
Studio MSV – Riga / Latvia
Schlaich, Bergermann & Partner – Stuttgart / Germany
SIA BKB – Riga / Latvia
Müller BBM – Munich / Germany
Organ Designer / Builder
Johannes Klais Orgelbau – Bonn / Germany
Iveta Apkalna – Berlin & Riga / Latvia
Climate / Energy / Mechanical Services
Transsolar Klimaengineering – Stuttgart / Germany
SIA Friteks – Riga / Latvia
Energy Consultant / Building Physics
SIA Arche – Riga / Latvia
SIA FIMA / SIA KELLME – Riga / Latvia
LDE Belzner Holmes – Stuttgart / Germany
DTP Theaterbühnentechnik – Dresden / Germany
Stage Lighting / Sound
SIA Audio AE – Riga / Latvia
SIA Glamma – Riga / Latvia
Water / Drainage Engineering
SIA IP – Ventspils / Latvia
SIA Northproject – Riga / Latvia
Oskars Jura, STUDIO 555 - Ventspils / Latvia
Revised Scheme Design / 2014 – 2015
Technical Project / 2015
Construction Time / 2016 – 2019
Completion / Spring 2019
Project Opening / Summer 2019
Gross Floor Area (GFA)
ca. 8,000 m2 BGF
ca. 32,000 m2 BGF
Above ground - 3