Location: on the shores of the Gulf of Riga, Latvia
Team: Zane Tetere – Sulce, Dace Bula, Eva Heidingere – Jukama
Landscaping: Galantus Gardens
Photos: Alvis Rozenbergs
Latvian legislation protects the coastline from excessive building practices. Newbuilds are not permitted, however, it is possible to build atop existing foundations. Our clients purchased a coastal property with the intent of transforming it. We agreed to the challenge.
The property consisted of four standalone buildings – the main house, a garage, shed and garden house – each with its own character and style. We found a way to keep all structures and unify them stylistically. The two dominant materials – larch and galvanized steel – are inspired by the colours of the sea and sky. The shape of the buildings and their gable roofs echo the vernacular architecture of the historical fishermen’s dwellings, which the Latvian coastline is known for.
While once home to active fishing communities, today’s coastal towns have a mixed identity. Holidaymakers are a big part of the local tapestry. This home is also designed as a family getaway, but liveable throughout the year. Considering its main purpose, our design facilitates flowing freely between the indoors and outdoors. Solutions like the covered second floor balcony provide outdoor access no matter the weather and wind conditions. A sheltered outdoor dining area encourages shared meals with a view across the Gulf of Riga. The positioning of windows across all buildings ensures that the presence of the sea is always felt. Residents can also just watch the sea from a comfortable position on the terrace.
Exuberance-free, the coastal holiday home in Latvia reflects northerners’ reserved and modest nature. No element is purely decorative, in order not to take away from the rugged beauty of the coastal landscape. Even pragmatic elements like the gutters are hidden. The shelving systems built into the façade of the garage and outdoor dining area assist in keeping the exterior tidy. They also allow expanding on the garden, which is designed by Galantus Gardens landscape architecture firm.