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The Construction of the House of Science at the University of Latvia in Torņakalns
Riga, Latvia
Commissioned by
University of Latvia
Project type
Designed by
Sestais Stils architectural bureau
Summer 2017
January 2019

Study places for 2000 students, excellent working conditions for 450 scientific and academic staff, and a new culture of openness and democracy — these are only some of the valuable features created by the House of Science. The building is part of the Academic Centre of the University of Latvia (4.5 hectares in total) and covers 20,000 square metres. It has seven floors above ground, as well as a basement and a rooftop patio space.

The intelligent heating, lighting, cooling and ventilation systems ensure the building’s high energy efficiency. Thermopiles, which are still rarely used in Latvia, make it possible to extract geothermal energy for scientific purposes, providing solutions to future climate challenges.

About 13,500 cubic metres of concrete and 1,450 tonnes of concrete reinforcement went into the construction of the House of Science. An inner glass facade surrounding a central open foyer creates a truly unique design within modern Latvian architecture. From the atrium, you can see the lecturers’ offices through the glass walls — professors and researchers are no longer “hidden” behind thick doors and walls, as is typical of historical university buildings. This culture of openness reduces the distance between students and faculty, contributing to the democratisation of knowledge and learning.
The building also offers an unprecedented level of comfort for researchers and teaching staff.

For example, the LU Laser Centre was previously located in a building where the accuracy of measurements was hampered by a passing tram. In the Science House, special anti-vibration blocks embedded in the laboratory floor ensure that precise and demanding scientific equipment works smoothly. They are made of leaded concrete and are built separate from the building structure — so vibrations from the environment are not transmitted to the laboratories. Thanks to these controlled conditions, the laboratories can produce ultra-precise equipment used in medicine and space research.

The building, which opened its doors to the public in 2019, houses the Faculty of Physics, Mathematics and Optometry, the Faculty of Medicine, as well as six research institutes: the Institute of Physics, the Institute of Geodesy and Geoinformatics, the Institute of Cardiology and Regenerative Medicine, the Institute of Atomic Physics and Spectroscopy, the Institute of Mechanics of Materials, and the Institute of Astronomy.

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