The Baltic Course  

For the city and the people

Hannes Tamme (Radio Ku-Ku), Olga Smirnova, Darius Babickas (Lietuvos rytas)

According to an established tradition, in April, architects, builders and commissioners choose the most interesting projects of the year in different categories. This year, architects from Tallinn won the special prize for a project rebuilding the of St. Brigitta Monastery. In Riga, undoubtedly, the new main building of the Bank of Latvia was announced the best project of the year. Vilnius awarded the best prize to new suburban homes around the capital

Estonia: concrete domes

This is only the second year when the best buildings are nominated in Estonia. The contest is held by the Association of Construction Material Producers. This time, 14 buildings were evaluated in the contest.

The bulk cargo handling terminal in Muuga port was announced the most interesting building of the year 2001 in Estonia - its 4 white concrete domes looking very effective and aesthetic. They are made employing a very simple and rational method, without special extra equipment: first, air was pumped in plastic structures, then these spheres were covered with insulation, and then a metal skeleton was built around them and finally, concrete was poured in them. In Estonia, such domes were built for the first time. The architect is Eva Molder from the company Randvali&Karema. Such domes are filled from above, using dust-free technology.

In the category "architecture", Tanel Tuhal and Ra Luhse won the special prize this year. Near the old building of the monastery of St. Brigitta in Tallinn, Pirita, a new construction has been set up. The idea to rebuild the monastery came from Rome and then the St. Brigitta Order commissioned the works.  On August 15, 2002, it will be the 566th anniversary of the consecration of the monastery that was destroyed in 1577. Architects used an up-to-date type of concrete for construction of the new building; its facade has been made from limestone, floors - from dolomite. From its huge windows, the River Pirita can be seen. The monastery is operating, concerts and conferences are held there as well. There is a tall, but narrow bell tower. The construction company FKSM built the monastery.

The most successful office building of the last year was the building in Tallinn, Toompuies Tee 33. Architect Juri Okas had an idea to restore the old building and build a new one near it. In this building, for the first time in Estonia, a new concrete laying technology was used - the concrete evens out itself and does not need additional finishing works.

O� Eesti Ehitus was announced the best construction company, which built the container terminal in Muuga port, Tallinn. 280 steel pipes with a diameter of 1.22 m were piled in the sea. A berth with a size of 200 x 50 meters was then built on these posts. The works were considered to be of high complexity.

Latvia: from bank to castle

The Latvian Association of Constructors announced the winners of the best building of the year 2001 contest for six categories. Among 46 buildings, the first prize was given to the new head building of the Bank of Latvia in Riga. The architect bureau Kronbergs and Karklins un partneri designed it. The construction works were carried out by the contractual association of Latvian and German companies, which included Latvian companies BKD, Kalnozols un partneri, Velve and the German E. Heikamp Lettland.

The Audi Centrs in Riga, constructed by the company RBS Skals (design -architect bureau Zeniko projekts), was announced the second most important building of 2001. third place was given to the branch of border guard station in Robeznieki, Kraslava district, which was built by the company Ditton (design - Armands Bisenieks Arhitekti).

As the best reconstructed building, Latvian architects decided upon the second stage of the terminal extension in the international airport Riga (construction works were carried out by the company PBLC, design - Arhis Ltd.). The second in this category is the office building of social care in Riga, which was designed by the company Skonto buve and constructed by the company Restaurators. The third place was given to the Reval Hotel Latvia, called Blue Dream by the residents of Riga. Mind you, the color of the hotel has been retained. The author of the project - the architect bureau Sarma & Norde and Arhitekta J. Pogas birojs, construction works - SBRE.

In the category "restoration", Mezotne Castle in Bauska district was singled out (restoration - JSC RBS Skals, design - Kubs and Intrasija). The second is the representation building of JSC Ventspils Nafta - one of the most beautiful buildings in the center of Riga (author of the project - the company Lauku Dzive 21.Gadsimts, contractor - Rigas Restauracijas Birojs). The third - tourism information centre in Cesis (design - Buvprojekts, construction works - Cesu buvnieks).

In the category "engineering structure", the first prize was given to the company Nia Baltika, which carried out reconstruction works on the road Via Baltica (13 - 21.1 km of the Riga - Ainazi section). The project was prepared by the Danish company COWI in cooperation with the Latvian Pro Via, contractors - JSC Koalicija 8CBR, A.C.B. and Binders. The second place was awarded to the substation of Riga TPS-1 (design - public JSC Latvenergo, Latvenergo Projekts, construction works - Latvijas Energoceltnieks). Third place - reconstructed system of water supply in Madona (author of the project - Aqua-Brambis Ltd., construction works - JSC Siguldas buvmeistars).

The Client service centre of heating system of Jurmala was announced the best construction of the plumbing and heating structures (design - the architect bureau Arhis, construction works - the company Eva serviss). The second place  - the hotel Reval Hotel Latvija (design and contractor - the company EVA-Serviss. The third - hotel Ergli in Madona district (author of the project - design bureau Karlis, contractor - Elsana Ltd.).

In the category "best electric installation works", again the representation building of JSC Ventspils Nafta in Riga won the first prize (implementation of the project was carried out by the company Lauku Dzive 21.Gadsimts, contractor - Moduls-Riga). The second place was given to the building Jurnieku Nams in Riga (implementation of the project - the company K. Alksna Projektesanas Birojs, construction work - Moduls-Riga). The third place - the Alfa shopping mall in Riga (design - J. Kalnina Projektesanas Birojs, contractor - the company Elsana).

Lithuania: prizes to the builders of suburban houses

In Lithuania, every year builders receive prizes from the Confederation of Lithuanian Manufacturers, which in cooperation with the Ministry of Economy singles out the best projects. Last year, such a prize was awarded to settlements of new suburban homes near Vilnius.

The first prize was given to the company Imsas for a new settlement in the suburbs of Bendoreliai. A new town is being built here - a satellite of Vilnius. According to the project, 340 guarded villas with a single infrastructure are to be built here. It is intended to build a store, a restaurant and even a praying house. At first, the territory of the new settlement was purchased by investors, and after the construction of houses is finished, they will be sold to residents.

The second prize was also given to the builders of residential homes - the company Panevezio Statybos Trestas for another mini-settlement near Vilnius. Near Paneriai, the company has built twenty-four houses, the majority of which have already been ordered. These are houses of different sizes, almost completely equipped.

The president of the Lithuanian association of builders, Adakras Sestakauskas, said that these prizes have been given for new ideas in construction in Lithuania: "Previously, bank buildings, boiler houses and other structures received the prizes. Currently, the majority of buildings under construction in Lithuania are of high quality, therefore the competition has already reached the level of new ideas."

2001 showed that the capital of Lithuania, Vilnius, is a center of new buildings. Besides, the settlements in Bendoreliai and Paneriai, at least two impressive commercial structures have emerged in the capital during the previous year.

One of them is a 15-storey building of the company Hanner. Its floor space is 5,200 square metres. The office building cost the builders 20 million litas. More than two thousand tons of concrete and 120 tons of metal reinforcement were needed for the monolith concrete structure. According to the owners of "the skyscraper" (so it is called in Vilnius), a lot of time has been spent on the fitting of windows in the upper floors  and on the roof of the building due to the fact that a number of builders refused to work at such a height.

At the end of the previous year, the opening of the Hyper Maxima shopping mall in Vilnius was the start of building the Akropolis city of services and recreation. Currently, its area already has reached 70,000 square meters. Several stores, restaurants, cinemas, even an ice rink are open. There is no similar center in the neighboring countries of such size. The next stage of the development of the giant center will include the building of a tall skyscraper, although the architects have not decided yet upon its height. There have been talks even about building a 30-storey structure. According to the calculations, the whole construction of the Akropolis city will cost 150 million litas, but this sum does not include 16 million litas for the purchase of land.