sverbda arhitektura revives a Latvian warehouse as a cultural center

sverbda arhitektura revives a Latvian warehouse as a cultural center

Sudraba Arhitektura reveals hanzas perons

From 20th– century railway warehouse to modern event space, Hanzas Perons sits in the heart of Riga as a fusion of Latvian the capital’s industrial history and bustling cultural presence. Leaving most of the abandoned structure untouched, Sudraba Arhitektura reformed a historical patina and covered it in delicate glass structure completed by contemporary steel details. Today, the structure enlivens the city as a multi-purpose space that hosts concerts, exhibitions, banquets and more within an emblem of its rich history.

Inside, the original brick work and the wooden structure was celebrated and preserved, with modern materials such as terrazzo floors, concrete and steel coming together in harmony. The newly refined details show modest references to the aesthetics of the railway, with preserved platforms incorporated in concrete and a railway track running through the building to honor the memory of the place.

historical Latvian cargo warehouse with silver arhitektura revived as a cultural center, covered with a glass and steel shell
south face | all images courtesy of Sudraba Arhitektura

preserving historical memory with modern construction

Following the recent boom in architectural projects in Riga where heritage structures have been transformed into innovative modern venues, Sudraba Arhitektura has taken over Hanzas Perons which was formerly part of a major freight railway station. Today, it sits almost as the last of 15 warehouses that stood along the historic tracks, featuring exposed brick walls, wooden beams, and sophisticated sliding doors and gates. With the new design, the architects combining old and new elements with a harmonious combination of heritage and innovation, ‘where respect for history is shown in elaborate modern solutions, giving new life to the old.’

historical Latvian cargo warehouse with silver arhitektura revived as a cultural center, covered with a glass and steel shell
west face

from a railway depot to a cultural event space

When the project began, despite its well-preserved condition, engineers considered the structure to be structurally unsound. Thus, Sudraba Arhitektura preserved as much of its original identity as possible while reviving its functionality to make it the largest private cultural building in Latvia. Instead of installing new pillars and support elements to reinforce the existing structure, an external load-bearing steel structure was built to contain the historic structure. As a result, additional service spaces and technical premises were resolved in a clear visual language and circulation.

The greatest spatial value of Hanzas Perons — a large columnless hall — is located in the center of the warehouse which is 15 meters wide and 80 meters long. It has been preserved in its entirety and restored to host various concerts and exhibitions. It can be divided into three separate spaces, allowing considerable flexibility.

historical Latvian cargo warehouse with silver arhitektura revived as a cultural center, covered with a glass and steel shell
north face

Initially, the original roof of the warehouse, which was a wide canopy on both sides, covered the logistics platforms where freight wagons went on one side and trucks on the other. Rather, Sudraba Arhitektura embraces this aspect and transforms the sheltered terraces into elegant and glamorous stockings. At the southern end of Hanzas Perons, a new double-height space brings the structure closer to the street to act as the main entrance lobby.

At night, the new building takes on a new look along the street front as the transparent socks become illuminated from within and the old structure is visible from the outside as a striking silhouette.

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