Ventspils Science and Innovation Center

Location: Ventspils, Latvia

Year: 2016

Status: Competition: 3rd prize

Size: 7800 m²

Program: Science Exhibition Center and Innovation Center

Project team: Alver Architects (Andres Alver, Tarmo Laht, Sven Koppel, Ulla Saar, Indrek Rünkla)


The complex derives its forming lines from the existing geometry of Ventspils and magnifies them.
The site of the new edifice is situated on a prominent location at the axis of the entrance to the city of Ventspils
Yet it needs a connection with the center of Ventspils
The building aligns itself with an important direction in the neighbourhood of the site
its orientation matches with the streets and the river
it provides a straight connection with the passenger port of Ventspils – and from thereon to the rest of down-town
it enables to connect the Center with the adjacent park by an underpass. This introduces a new layer of city development along the riverside. The development zone would end with a meeting point of marines and urbanity.

The building turns its face towards the city of Ventspils. The entrance is marked with the cantilevering block of exhibition galleries. With the slight turn of the head towards the bridge it tries to be an ‘overture’ to the city rather than a self-sufficient object at the central axis. It wishes to say that there is more behind it – a whole city.

The building consists of two main parts.
The regular southern side is an ordinary concrete construction with columns and floor slabs. The very southern end above the Innovation Center entrance the second and third floor extend over the ground. This is done with rigid frames in the exterior walls of the protruding volumes.
The northern part is a cantilevering exhibition gallery and between them is the main lobby-atrium. The cantilever has some load bearing columns in the center in front of the cafeteria. The columns go all the way up to the roof of the exhibition gallery volume. A spatial structural framework will expand at the roof level of the block. The gallery floors are suspended from this structural framework. The exterior partitions of the whole building are light construction curtain walls.