A Study of the New Latvian National Library
Last summer when I was in Latvia for the Positivus Music Festival, I was lucky enough to go to the soft opening of the new National Library of Latvia,when it was just barely open. The library was designed by Latvian-born architect Gunnar Birkerts. It’s beautiful in a lovely modern way.
I love 20th century modern architecture. I grew up in Houston, spending plenty of time in modern buildings there, including one of my favorite buildings, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. Turns out the main space of their building that I’ve been to the most is by celebrated modern architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. My other favorite Houston museum is by the same architect who did the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris!). Turns out I’d fallen in love with these buildings before I’d known they were by anyone generally considered to be hugely important in architecture.
The pictures I took last summer don’t do the new Latvian library justice, but you can see better ones here.
If you get to Riga, the new library is a great free place to spend some time! The tram stops right in front, and it is just next door to the Latvian Railway History Museum.
I suspect that in 20 years, the area just around the library will be totally transformed. But for now, if you are a tourist, eat a nice lunch before you cross the river from old town Riga, because I didn’t see a lot of nice places to nosh around the brand new library.