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The VIZIUM Science and Innovation Centre
Ventspils, Latvia
Commissioned by
Ventspils Komunālā pārvalde
Project type
Designed by
AMBRASAS PB, Audrius Ambrasas, Arhitekta J. Pogas birojs
Autumn 2019
Autumn 2021

Outstanding energy efficiency, spectacular looks and breath-taking content — the VIZIUM Science Centre at Ventspils is made to impress. The building was erected on formerly derelict land that has been completely transformed into one of the landmarks of the Kurzeme region. The six-storey, 10,000-square-metre building has become a place where science and innovation become accessible to everyone through attractive and interactive exhibitions.

The project was ambitious from the very beginning — and LNK Industries managed to surpass even the highest expectations! As a result of project optimisation, the cost of the building was cut by € 200,000. The intensive work output allowed the building to be finished three months ahead of schedule. The building was procured to meet the requirements of a class A energy efficiency rating, meaning its yearly energy consumption should not exceed 45 kWh per square metre. The actual result was consumption levels of 34,72 kWh per square metre, which lifted the Centre to the highest energy efficiency rating — A+. This ensures around 23% savings on heating. VIZIUM is also noteworthy for its air permeability — the best in Latvia so far. It means an excellent indoor climate, as well as lower heating and cooling costs.

These excellent sustainability characteristics have earned VIZIUM several industry awards.
It ranked first in the contest for Most Energy-Efficient Building in Latvia 2022 as well as at the Latvian Construction Awards 2021, in the Best Public Building — New Building category. VIZIUM also ranked second in the international Sustainability in Architecture Competition.

The building is a unique aesthetic experience as well. Its facade is decorated with copper plates that reflect the sunlight and make the building shine. The plates are especially designed to withstand harsh weather conditions and last for at least a decade without oxidising. The form of the building with its slanting walls and windowsills created considerable challenges during the construction process. The large spans of the ground floor hall were also formidable— the 47 × 28 metre hall could only be supported with perimetral walls and two taper columns, six metres in width.

But the most impressive feature is the floor in the main lobby — there lies a 365-square-metre world map mosaic constructed by hand with 600 thousand pieces of Murano glass tiles. Latvia is at the centre of the map with Ventspils set at the crossing of meridians, so visitors literally find themselves in the centre of the world. The meridians serve practical purposes as well — they allow the underfloor heating to function properly without damaging the precious mosaic.

The 3,083 hectares of previously derelict land have been transformed into an expanse with 153 car parking spaces, six charging stations for electric vehicles, a hornbeam hedge and flowerbeds with automatic watering systems. There is also a massive, curved bench, bicycle parking and many other features for the comfort of locals and tourists alike.