Music School and Concert Hall, Ventspils / Latvia

2014 – 2019

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.

Pipe Organ Project

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.

Artistic Concept

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.

Short Facts


City of Ventspils / Latvia

Planing Team

Local Partner Architect
Studio MSV – Riga / Latvia

Structural Engineer
Schlaich, Bergermann & Partner – Stuttgart / Germany
SIA BKB – Riga / Latvia

Müller BBM – Munich / Germany

Organ Designer / Builder
Johannes Klais Orgelbau – Bonn / Germany

Organ Consultant
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

Electrical Engineering
SIA FIMA / SIA KELLME – Riga / Latvia

Architectural Lighting
LDE Belzner Holmes – Stuttgart / Germany

Stage Engineering
DTP Theaterbühnentechnik – Dresden / Germany

Stage Lighting / Sound
SIA Audio AE – Riga / Latvia

Fire Engineering
SIA Glamma – Riga / Latvia

Water / Drainage Engineering
SIA IP – Ventspils / Latvia

Cost Consultant
SIA Northproject – Riga / Latvia

Oskars Jura, STUDIO 555 - Ventspils / Latvia

Planing Schedule

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

"high-tech from nature“

Wool, Fired Earth and Stone
The fabric for the audience seating is the result of a collaboration between haascookzemmrich STUDIO2050 and Rohi Stoffe GmbH. Rohi is famed for its innovative use of wool, showcasing the properties this natural material has to offer through a range of finishing techniques.

The Team

David Cook

Partner Freier Architekt, BA (hons), Dip. Arch (dist), RIBA, BDA

Als Projektpartner bei Behnisch Architekten war David Cook von 1995-2005 verantwortlich für das Harbourside Center (Konzert- und Tanztheater) in Bristol, Großbritannien, das Dänische Nationalarchiv (NPAC) in Kopenhagen, Dänemark, sowie für das Terrence Donnelly Center für zelluläre und biomolekulare Forschung (TDDCBR) an der Universität von Toronto, Kanada. Als Partner bei Behnisch Architekten zwischen 2005-2012 war David Cook verantwortlich für die Hilde-Domin-Schule in Herrenberg, das Nationalzentrum für Tumorerkrankungen (NCT) in Heidelberg, die Schwetzinger-Terrasse-Kindertagesstätte in Heidelberg, sowie für das Gebäude des Hauptsitzes King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) in Riyadh, Saudi-Arabien. Er hat an einer Vielzahl von Campus- / Masterplaning-Projekten gearbeitet, darunter UC Dublin, Irland und der Sanierung des Lower Don in Toronto, Kanada. David Cook war auch Co-Kurator der sehr erfolgreichen Wanderausstellung "Ökologie, Design, Synergie" durch Deutschland.

Nach 6 Jahren der Partnerschaft gründet Cook, zusammen mit Martin Haas und Stephan Zemmrich, im April 2012 sein eigenes Büro „haascookzemmrich STUDIO2050“ mit Projekten im In- und Ausland.

David Cook war Belluschi-Gastprofessor für Architektur an der Universität von Oregon, USA. Er pflegt weiterhin eine enge Beziehung zu der Universität und kehrt regelmäßig für Gastvorträge an die Universität zurück.

Auszüge: Projekte

Bristol Harbourside Centre

Bristol Harbourside Centre

David Cook als Projektpartner bei Behnisch Architekten von 1993-1996
Danish National and Provincial Archives, Copenhagen

Danish National and Provincial Archives, Copenhagen

David Cook als Projektpartner bei Behnisch Architekten von 1996-2000
Terrence Donnelly Center for Cellular and Biomolecular Research (TDCCBR), Toronto

Terrence Donnelly Center for Cellular and Biomolecular Research (TDCCBR), Toronto

David Cook als Partner in Behnisch Architekten
Hilde-Domin-Schule, Herrenberg

Hilde-Domin-Schule, Herrenberg

David Cook als Partner in Behnisch Architekten
Institut für Technische Physik (ITEP), KIT, Karlsruhe

Institut für Technische Physik (ITEP), KIT, Karlsruhe

David Cook als Partner in Behnisch Architekten
National Zentrum für Tumorerkrankungen (NCT), Heidelberg

National Zentrum für Tumorerkrankungen (NCT), Heidelberg

David Cook als Partner in Behnisch Architekten

David Correa

Dino Chai

Erik Martinez

Eva Engele

Felix Beck

Hanxiao Liu

Han hat an der University of British Columbia in Vancouver (Canada) mit Major in Mechanical Engineering studiert. Sein Master in Architecture und dem Certificate in Landscape Studies hat er an der University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia (USA) erworben. Während und nach seinem Studium war Han in mehreren Büros in Canada, den USA und China tätig. Unter anderem arbeitete er bei Environmental Control and Safety Engineering in Burnaby, Canada, MCW Consultants (Vancouver), ABB Robotics Division (Shanghai), sowie SOM in New York, USA. Han hat den angesehenen Arthur Spayed Brooke Memorial Award erworben.

Seit 2012 arbeitet Han als Architekt und Projektleiter für haascookzemmrichSTUDIO2050. Zu seinem bisherigen Tätigkeiten zählt die Mitarbeit an Wettbewerben (u.a. Guggenheim Museum in Helsinki, Deutsches Pavilion für die Expo in Mailand, Italien, Mercedes-Benz Campus in Stuttgart, sowie Smichov Residential Area in Prag) und an folgenden Projekten: Fragrant Hill Residences in Beijing, China; Global Geometry Office, Hamburg; Musikschule und Konzertsaal in Ventspils, Lettland, sowie TenON 5 Stadtquartier in Mannheim.

Seit 2017 ist Han für unsere Niederlassung in Shanghai verantwortlich.

Michael Kapeller

Paul Lipan-Weber

Sabine Vecvagare


Freie Architekten PartG mbB

Gymnasiumstraße 52
70174 Stuttgart

Phone: +49 711 22936260
Fax: +49 711 22936273

4th Floor, Number 1
Lane 299, Fu Xing West Road
200031 Shanghai
P. R China

Phone: +86 138 1396 0504