The master plan of Riga Port City sets forth several scenarios of development of Andrejsala and Eksportosta, and demonstrates the maximum development opportunities of this place. The concept provides relatively specific data on the properties of the new district of the city, its spatial composition and town-planning principles.
The district of Andrejsala and Eksportosta is divided into three bands and includes six various zones. Each of the zones is planned with its own identity, atmosphere and main buildings (e.g. the Contemporary Art Museum, conference centres, a design school etc.), as well as the landscape formed for a purpose. The area development process envisages successive phases.
The total area of development is expected to be 2,700,000 square metres, of which Andrejsala’s share shall be 700,000 square metres. The plan provides that apartments of various types and related social and communal services are to make up 65% of the whole development area, 20% of the area shall be offices and hotels, shopping centres, restaurants, cafés etc. Commercial area will make up up to 10%, and cultural and entertainment objects – up to 5% of the area. The percentage of cultural and entertainment objects on Andrejsala will be much greater – up to 9%. The area will include car parks of various forms for approx. 25,000 vehicles.
The master plan of Riga Port City has been elaborated on the basis of a carefully conducted research of social and economic, geographic conditions and ecosystems in Latvia. It also involved the prognosis of the state economic growth and assessed the Riga City’s development opportunities and trends. Investment environment, real estate market, infrastructure and transportation issues have been thoroughly analyzed as well as other countries’ experience in the development of former port areas. A lot of attention has been dedicated to the assessment of air quality, noise level and wind effect.
In Riga Port City, it is planned to create a joint public outdoor system with a broad pedestrian promenade along the Daugava, which will be accessible to everyone, gardens, parks, playgrounds and other well-organized grounds. In a large part of Riga Port City, a public outdoor environment will be created, where priority will be given to pedestrians and cyclists.
Creation of a surrounding landscape provides for planting of greenery in a broad area at the initial stage of development and preservation of nature of the former port’s area in improvement and design elements. It is planned to create temporary parks, pavilions and nurseries, which are going to operate till the launch of construction, and they are to ensure that the district of Andrejsala and Eksportosta will return to life as soon as possible.
The Essence of the Plan
The Riga City Port is one of the last dockland areas in Europe still waiting to be developmed. A rapid growth of Riga means that too detailed elaboration of the city environment development may be risky. The plan of Riga Port City is mainly a tool, which does not dictate and does not create a predictable and explicit aggregate of applications. The concept reminds a guessing game – predicting of possible future options.
The objectives of the plan are related to the predicting of what is expected to happen in a part of the City of Riga, however the plan does not have to necessarily include the shape, appearance or functions of buildings. It should make one sufficiently convinced about the features of a newly developed city part, in order to arouse the interest of the target audience. The main goal is that the plan should simultaneously be indefinite and definite.
The concept should provide for various scenarios, as Latvia, and particularly Riga, is now going through a dynamic growth. A long-term economic growth and the preservation of a real estate bubble should be taken into consideration. However, one should take into account the possibility that the market may become oversaturated, the demand for the real estate may stabilize or even decrease.
If the development context is not foreseen, the plan should provide for the system of territory organization basic principles. The area of development in the planning is divided into three bands and make up six different zones.
The bands provide for the type of the use of dominating areas – the construction of residential buildings or offices, development of mixed type or miscellaneous services industry (the service industry is a core component of development of a modern city). At the same time, the bands account for differences in the whole area – the city environment on the bank is relatively open and transparent, the central band of the area development is dense, while the morphology of buildings in the east of the area is more improvised, so that the new area could be better involved in the neighborhood.
The different morphology of the bands enables to pay attention to the application of the area’s advantages in the plan. The densely developed central band is located on the site of the present railway track, where the ground has never been developed. The band with a somewhat less dense development near the Daugava makes it possible to erect new buildings next to the existing ones, which are worth being there.
The band along the bank of the Daugava is more transparent and delicate, that is why the central band will offer better landscapes and better access to the Daugava. Away from the embankment, there will be formed the second waterfront – in the central belt, buildings will be higher, and those will be well observable at a greater distance. It is especially important for companies, which would like to make their headquarters have a more impressive appearance.
The zones subdivide the site more subtly into quarters with varied urban characters or ‘feel’. The atmosphere of each zone is created through an amalgamation of a local identity, derived from the adjacent areas or from the zone’s former use; and an international identity referring to universally known urban and dock typologies. This hybrid identity serves to create quarters that appeal to both locals and international users.
The different character of the quarters is enhanced through a play, in which the zones (at regular intervals) are superimposed on the irregular shape of the site, - creating an alternating rhythm of continuous zones and zones interrupted by the basins of the former harbors. The character of each zone is further reinforced by the allocation of specific functions.
Zone F: Andrejosta Docks
Andrejosta Docks is the quarter that connects the new development to the city center. The southern part will be developed as a mixed use area with a passenger ferry terminal. With the new tramline and possibly future Hanza crossing running across, Andrejosta docks will serve as the gate to the site.
Zone E: Riga Soho
Riga Soho forms the central part of Andrejsala, the southern part of the site: a mixed use area with focus on residential uses towards the water and office buildings along Eksporta Street as well as cultural and art buildings. Contemporary Art Museum, a sculpture park, a school of design etc. are expected to appear on the map of Andrejsala.
Zone D: Marina Petersala
The former Eksportostas port basin is transformed into a marina with restaurants and entertainment venues located on the east bank. A lowered deck will allow for a better connection to the water, function as an area for cafes and provide access to anchored boats. On the north bank of Andrejsala, there will be a major entertainment complex with a casino, luxury SPA hotel, a conference center etc. The roof will become a garden for visitors of the area.
Zone C: Eksportosta City
With a good connection to the newly planned highway and to the airport this part of the site offers the best conditions for an easy-to-access business center with all the related facilities. In addition to a large quantum of office space this zone provides small-scale retail at the lower levels of the buildings and a congress hall for big events.
Zone B: Vejzaksala Port
The identity of the Vejzaksala Port quarter will build on its former use as dockland.
Its spatial configuration will remain largely unchanged and will accommodate shopping, light industrial or entertainment uses with a high level of traffic.
The former port basin can house rafts for temporary use such as entertainment venues, restaurants, clubs etc.
Zone A: Baltic Terminal
The Baltic terminal area is dedicated to a terminal for regular passenger ferries. The necessary parking and service infrastructure is combined with a hotel and retail facilities for duty free or tax-reduced shopping. In proximity to the water, this quarter will house a shipping museum, for instance, the Hanseatic museum dedicated to the rich history of the Hanseatic League or a similar center.
The phasing strategy is one of the most essential components of the Riga Port City masterplan. The masterplan is conceived as a series of phases, each representing a definite end-configuration. The master plans must always appear to be an intentional composition and not a half finished entity, regardless of whether or not the development progresses to the next phase.
By appropriating the Latvian forest, countryside and settlement pattern and reinterpreting it on the site, the landscape design becomes a basis of the Riga Port City master plan.
The overall landscape approach enhances the natural vegetation, while incorporating existing vegetation, introducing diversity and ecological programs. A varied range of species are chosen for their adaptability to changing conditions and general success in an urban environment.
The landscape design will create fluid connections between the old Riga city center and the new Riga Port City with a series of parks and public areas. This new connection will include a range of parks, public gardens, promenades along the Daugava, water or ice gardens, interior gardens (heated glass houses), sports facilities, playgrounds etc. Nurseries are to become an integral element of the public area. The nurseries will supply all the trees, shrubs for the entire development, remaining active and accessible to the residents of Riga as a commercial venue and botanical garden even after the building developments have been completed.
The uses of the Daugava bank and landscape are to change according to the bands established in the master plan. Each band will form a distinctive environment thanks to the application of various approaches, materials and plantations.