Thursday, April 19, 2012

Decking a Go Go

Well once again I have been lacking in inspiration to put words out into the ether, but once again I have been inspired by the goings on in Latvia.

As many of you will know at this time of the year there are frantic efforts in constructing outdoor decks for pubs and restaurants. In some cases these work and in others they do not. Last year just outside the Kiwibar a large wooden deck was constructed, just in time for the end of the season, and a bar of sorts opened for a brief few weeks. Since then it has lain dormant over the Winter months, and now - instead of being refurbished and open for business it is being torn down !! - as can be seen from the pictures below.

So what to do with space, perhaps grass it over ? or pave it with stones ? No in the madhouse known as Riga City Council they have decided that an office/apartment block is what is needed in the old town. As you can see from below it really blends well into the old city landscape - I think NOT !!

The following is the developers rational for the development

There have always been lots of buildings around St Peter’s Church, with the earliest structures appearing there in the 12th century. Before World War II, there was a five-floor apartment building at Skārņu Street 11, designed by the architect Jānis Alksnis and built in 1914. On the first floor it had a butcher’s shop. The square between St Peter’s and St John’s has only been there since World War II, because many of the buildings there, including the one at Skārņu Street 11, were severely damaged during the war and were then razed.

The building at Skārņu 11 will be an environmental sculpture in the historical city centre of Rīga. The modern architecture must supplement the historical buildings and cover up the open firewall at Skārņu Street 9. The first floor of the new building at No. 11 will have public areas on the first floor, offices on the second, and flats above that, with 830 m2 of floor space in all. The detailed blueprints for the building are being prepared at this time.

Now whilst the above suggests offices and apartments, the street talk is that it will be a hotel - we can but see. But if the development goes ahead, then it will be interesting to see what happens to the surrounding buildings, in particlular St.Peters Church, when they start pile driving the foundations. as we all remember what happended in Dome Square a few years ago when a similar project was undertaken. The surrounding buildings started to crack up, resulting in the project being cancelled. Then they built a huge wooden deck, and opended a bar / restaurant called No Problem - which in the event of an earthquake or flood will be the safest place to be in Riga, as it is supported by over 26 concrete piles some 30 feet long !

So perhaps in a few years an unsinkable deck outside the Kiwibar will return, thanks to those foolish enough to want to build on sand in the heart of Riga old town !

And so other matters here in Riga - Spring is but approaching, with the grass trying desperately to turn from brown to green, but as yet no sign of the trees blossoming - that will take us until May - but in a land far away the season of surprises has arrived - READING in Berkshire. Once again the Reading football team achieved what many thought impossible and gained promotion to the Premier league. Now apart from Reading I take little or no interest in football, but I must confess I do take a great deal of pleasure in seeing this club do well, and now with a new (Russian) owner we can see how they progress next year.

And finally those with no musical taste and loads of money will be delighted to learn that Lady Gaga will be appearing in Riga during August. Prices start at 39.00 ls (standing only) and with a crowd expected to be 40,000 + - I have yet (thankfully) to meet anyone you can actually sing or hum one of her songs ! The concert will be held at the outdoor "arena" in Mezaparks, where every five years is held the Song and Dance festival - now that is a night to put in your diary.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy birthday for yesterday, Mr Sim

2:01 am  

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