PLH Arkitekter designs iconic building on Riga's Zunda Canal

As a modern architectural landmark on one of the main access roads to Riga's historic city center, a new, vast office complex designed by PLH Arkitekter will greet residents and visitors on their way into Latvia's capital. Spread across 10 floors, the building will offer a flexible and open environment for 2,500 employees, while the public atrium with i.a. restaurant, café, green terraces and the attractive landscape running down to the water will give new life to the whole area.

The authorities in Riga have granted a building permit for a 26,000 square meter office complex designed by PLH Arkitekter. With an uncompromising focus on design, functionality and sustainability, the building will help set new standards for the city's old Preses Nams district between the Daugave River and the Zunda Canal, which is set to become one of Riga's most attractive business districts.

With an international design that clearly references Nordic minimalism, the new office building elegantly rises 10 floors into the air. The inner, open atrium, which extends throughout the height of the building, connects two office wings in one transparent and welcoming structure. With the atrium, which is open to the public, PLH Arkitekter has also created a passageway through the building that makes it easy to get to and from the new, recreational area by the water.

“At PLH, we’re incredibly proud that our expertise and design are helping set the standard for what will become one of Riga's most attractive business districts. Along with our local partners, we’ve employed innovative and green solutions to create a dynamic, future-proof workplace. At the same time, it’s been important for us that we also make a positive contribution to the community. So, the area will not only get a new building, but also a new indoor avenue with café, restaurant and direct access to the green area by the water," says senior partner at PLH, Steen Enrico Andersen.

“The Preses Nams district sits in an ideal location for entrepreneurship – only 15 minutes away from Riga International Airport and within a walking distance from the Old Town. The second stage of construction envisages the building of a multifunctional office centre, supplementing the Latvian capital with modern infrastructure and a sustainable work environment for business. We are honored to develop this project together with the experienced PLH Arkitekter team. The experience of Danish architects is inestimable in developing the ambition of Preses Namas district – to become not only a central business district but also a place for leisure. The building’s functional layout as well as the green landscaping solutions near Zunda Channel will make it into a hub for business and a modern meeting point”, says Giedrius Bernotas, Fund Manager, Lords LB Asset Management.

When visitors and employees enter the atrium, they are greeted by a multitude of green plants and trees, which create an organic link to the surroundings and erase the line between outside and inside. After a short elevator ride to the upper floors, views of the Zunda Canal can be enjoyed through the spectacularly large glass sections, which have been suspended and braced with a wire system to ensure lightness and transparency.

Towering green ambitions

Just as there has been no compromise on design, sustainability has also been a top priority throughout design and material choices. As a result, the building is expected to be awarded "BREEAM Outstanding". BREEAM is one of the world's leading methods for assessing the sustainability of new buildings. "Outstanding" is an extremely exclusive, green club for the very best. Less than 1% of assessed buildings can pride themselves on that title.

Among other things, the large atrium with the inner avenue is not heated, but as part of the building's green design the double facade helps keep the heat in. At the same time, an intelligent ventilation system ensures that the windows are opened and closed so that ventilation is carried out automatically.

Furthermore, the plan is for the building's materials to be highly sustainable. For example, the ambition is for the wood cladding, which helps highlight the Scandinavian lines, to consist of local materials.

According to the plan, work will begin on the construction of the office complex at the end of 2022 and is expected to be completed by the beginning of 2024.

Danish design in the Baltic countries

With the project at Preses Nams, PLH Arkitekter is once again contributing its expertise in Danish architecture, design and sustainable solutions to the Baltic countries.

Among other things, in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, PLH Arkitekter has designed a 16,000 square meter office building with a 10,000 square meter car park, which the Lithuanian Ministry of the Environment awarded its prize for the most sustainable construction in the "Innovative construction" category.

Currently, several other additional projects are under way – including the construction of a new iconic station building, Riga Central Station, and a new bridge over the Daugave River as part of the Rail Baltica project. The Rail Baltica project is an EU-funded project in which the entire Baltics will be connected to the European railway network with the same rail gauge. Today, the Baltics only have Russian rail gauges. The project in Riga alone has a budget of DKK 4.35 billion. The PLH designed traffic hub, expected to be completed in 2026, will not only improve and beautify the city's infrastructure, but also add more green areas and help the city meet climate challenges.


Steen Enrico Andersen
Senior Partner, Architect MAA, Intl. Assoc. AIA
T: +45 4036 6412