PLH announced as winner in The International Rail Baltica Competition

We have been announced as one of two winners in the open International sketch design competition ‘Rail Baltica’ arranged by The European Railroad Lines, Ltd. The purpose of the competition is to develop the central multi-modal public transport hub in the Latvian capital Riga, and to construct the Rail Baltica railway bridge over The Daugava River. The Rail Baltica project is part of the European transport network.

The Station Building – the Arch Inspired by the Fern and Art Nouveau

The focal point of the plan is the iconic station building that creates a strong visual identity in the cityscape strengthening the sense of Riga as a metropolis. The inspiration for the design is the archetypal form of historic central stations worldwide – The Arch.

The station building stands as a new landmark with eye-catching canopies resembling arched fern leaves – aspiring to the qualities of the Art nouveau period. The sloping roof canopies let light flow easily and evenly throughout the building, creating a concourse space with an open and airy atmosphere. To the North side the canopy lifts allows a unique undisturbed view over the historic city creating a strong sense of relation to the city you have just arrived in, or are leaving behind. Geometric features, symmetry and repetition are qualities that enhance wayfinding and maintain orientation in the building landscape. The generous space, reminiscent of ecclesiastical architecture, creates moments of great wonder as travelers enters the building – a memorable experience and a recognizable point of arrival and departure.

Rail Baltica Overview

"Our proposal delivers a coherent, smooth and living infrastructural hub that connects the city and strengthens the existing identity of Riga. The green rampart, the water, the historic city and the market are all elements that contribute to the strong identity of Riga. By taking on a holistic approach to traffic and urban space development we have removed barriers and prioritized public transport, pedestrians and cyclist to create a more livable and sustainable city. PLH and COWI make up and experienced team with many references within infrastructure and traffic-projects – and therefore we are very excited about the possibility of working on the visionary plans for Riga”
— Steen Enrico Andersen.

Bridge & Railway
The plan contains two new tracks that run parallel on the south side of the existing tracks amplifying the clear signage of the railway in the cityscape and across the river. The bridge is designed with a light and floating expression. To maintain the relation between the new and the old, the bridge has a varying cross section that emerges on the underside of the bridge, with a rolling, wavy line that refers to large arch construction of the old bridge. The new bridge is designed with integrated bicycle and pedestrian path that creates a better connection along the rails and across the Daugava.

Green Metropolis
One objective of the design is to create a denser city with defined squares and urban places to frame an active city life for inhabitants, commuters and visitors alike – thereby strengthening the sense of Riga as a metropolis. An increase in the amount of green in the city creates better urban conditions and adds sensory experiences and an aesthetic dimension to strengthen the feeling of affiliation with the city. The new sequences of green urban spaces will also act as a new chapter in the development of the city with great respect for the existing city and its cultural heritage. At the same time the added urban nature has the power to remedy climate challenges by creating a better micro climate in the city, improving air quality, thermal comfort, biodiversity, storm water management and preventing urban heat islands.

Connecting the City – creating an infrastructural heart
The full project comprising the bridge, the overpass and the station, is planned as one coherent infrastructural element with a design-language that belongs to the language of bridges, as a low scale, continuous waving series of arches and vaults – opposed to the vertical elements of the city towers. The entire project serves multiple functions as an infrastructural heart that connects the regional with the local, where one can seamlessly change between modes of transport, train, to bus, car, bike, and as a public space, an urban living room for both recreation and commercial activities.

Strong Infrastructure Team
PLH Arkitekter has approx. 40 years of experience and 100 employees. At the moment we are design architect on the 17 new underground stations in the new Copenhagen Metro City Circle Line. PLH has also designed 5 of the above-ground stations on the existing metro-lines and worked on several railway projects as well as bus-hubs and other traffic projects. PLH is in partnership with COWI which is a leading engineering company with offices all over the world, 85 years of experience and 6.400 employees worldwide. Among their infrastructural and traffic hub-references are railways, light rails, metros and airports, roads and highways. They also have vast experience with the construction of bridges, tunnels and maritime structures.

For further information please contact:
Steen Enrico Andersen
Partner og arkitekt
+45 40 36 64 12

For photos, plans please contact:
Pernille Franch
PR Manager,
+45 27 20 05 99