Art Nouveau in Riga

12 Jun 2018

​Jauniela 25/29
This massive yellow edifice that replaced several Old Riga buildings in 1903, stood nearly abandoned after independence until it was finally re-opened as one of the city’s premier design hotels – Neiburgs. It’s a blend of art nouveau and eclecticism and is famous for the enormous head hovering above the entrance. It was designed by a Riga architect with the decidedly German name of Wilhelm Ludwig Bockslaff.

​Kalēju 23
One of Riga’s most beautiful buildings was the brainchild of Pauls Mandelštams, who is also considered to be the city’s first Jewish architect. You can’t miss its grand entranceway embellished with daisies and a hanging lamp made to look like a flower, not to mention the golden sun above.

​Šķūņu 10/12
This striking art nouveau building completed in 1902 was designed by the Baltic German duo of Friedrich Scheffel and Heinrich Scheel. Unfortunately, most people don’t even notice it because the street is so narrow. Its beautiful features including the watchdog at the top of the façade are best appreciated from Amatu iela.

​Smilšu 2
Built in 1902, this red brick building that looks like it has been overgrown by a forest of trees and common as well as mythical creatures is an early example of Konstantīns Pēkšēns conversion to the ideals of art nouveau. The naked figures of an Atlas-like man and woman growing out of tree trunks prop up the centre of the façade, which is adorned with a stele of a peacock – a popular symbol of art nouveau.

​Smilšu 8
This beautiful Old Riga building dates back to 1902 and is yet another example of the creativity of Scheffel and Scheel. Its façade is embellished with some odd-looking gargoyles, chunky cherubs, a woman’s large face with her eyes closed and two naked maidens holding a wreath – a symbol of peace and harmony.

​Strēlnieku 4a
Another Mikhail Eisenstein masterpiece, this blue building dating back to 1905 currently houses the prestigious Stockholm School of Economics in Riga. Although much of the interior didn’t survive years of Soviet neglect and the subsequent renovation, its façade is an amazing sight to behold.

​Vīlandes iela
This quiet street is home to many examples of art nouveau, but unfortunately quite a few are still in desperate need of renovation like the beautiful, yet neglected 1899 edifice at No.11, one of Riga's first art nouveau buildings. On the other hand, the building at No.10 is another masterpiece by Konstantīns Pēkšēns, which has been restored to its former glory.


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