Skonto Būve, Skonto Construction add message to time capsule in New Riga Theatre


On March 31, 2021, in accordance with the traditions of builders, a time capsule was placed in the foundations of the new building of the New Rīga Theatre (JRT) at Lāčplēša Street 25. Messages were added by representatives of the State Real Estate Agency and the SBSC construction company (Skonto Būve and Skonto Construction), as well as by JRT actors Gundars Āboliņš and Vilis Daudziņš, architect Zaiga Gaile, and the government ministers who oversee the sector. This will offer evidence of this day and age to future generations.

What led to this opportunity? On July 9, 2020, Skonto Būve and Skonto Construction began work on the reconstruction of the historical JRT building at Lāčplēša Street 25. Early in 2021, builders came across an historical time capsule in the foundations of the building with messages that dated back to the 19th century.

SIA Skonto Būve construction project director Jānis Kreicburgs: "We have worked very hard and with great purpose to win the bid for tenders on the construction of the New Rīga Theatre building, and now that we are doing the work, we are doing it with a high sense of responsibility. We very much respect the historical elements of the building's interior design and façades, and the client has instructed us to preserve them and integrate them into the new appearance of the building so as to ensure that once the project is finished, the theatre building will be not just modern, but also one with an aura from history."

The JRT project and the relevant technological solutions and quality criteria stand testament to modern achievements in the building industry. The project involves the construction information modelling system, which is a perfect tool to assemble structures precisely. It enables a three-dimensional virtual view of the building while it is being erected, and it also can identify technical information for each constructed element so as to ensure the highest level of quality in the work that is done.

One of the advantages of the new JRT building is that the interior will be larger and more comfortable, with particular thought given to visitors to the theatre. The old building had room for up to 400 audience members, but after the reconstruction, the number will more than double to 840 seats for theatre lovers. We are continuing to pursue our goal of a new, modern and popular building in the very heart of Rīga.

Work is currently being done on the 1st-floor ceiling of the façade section of the building. Active work is ongoing underground, where modern workshops have been installed in the façade and the yard zone. The much larger elements of the building will be visible by the end of this summer, when work is scheduled to end on the main structures of the yard zone. By the end of the year, work will begin on the building's roof. During the Covid-19 pandemic, there may be challenges related to the delivery of building materials, the availability of workers, longer harmonisation periods with the relevant supervisory institutions, etc. Participants in the process are working hard to ensure that the work is on schedule and that the object will be completed at a sufficient level of quality and so that the theatre could return to the Lāčplēša Street building by the autumn of 2022.

The JRT building has special added value, and all of our employees are very proud of the work that is being done. The work involves the best specialists -- those whose work is very much appreciated by experts in the sector. The team includes construction project director Jānis Kreicburgs, his deputy, Viktors Borisovskis, the man who is responsible for the building work, Sergejs Šnepsts, the construction director for the carcass of the building, Jānis Štorhs, the construction director for general work, Igors Grigorjevs, the construction director for the façade of the building, Andris Lauss, the construction director for electricity and low current, Dmitrijs Mokrovs, the construction director for heating, ventilation, air conditioning, water delivery and sewage, Pāvels Zarubins, the construction director for access roads and improvements, Maksims Kots, the design co-ordinator, Mareks Petrovskis, the job safety specialist, Māra Kukoja, the senior budget specialist, Hermanis Eisaks, the assistant to the project director, Marina Mackina, the technical secretary, Tatjana Borisjuka, the document auditor, Ance Niezere, and the lawyer, Ilze Bērziņa.




Skonto Būve Wins Annual Latvian Construction Award for Origo Shopping Centre, Origo One Business Centre Project


SIA Skonto Būve has received top honours in the "New Public Building" category of the Latvian Construction Awards 2020 for professional work that it did to expand the Origo shopping centre and to build the Origo One business centre. This was one of the most substantial investment projects in Latvia in recent years.

Over the course of three years, technically complicated work was done on expanding the centre to increase floorspace by more than 45,000 m2. Origo is an energy efficient building that is environmentally friendly and good for people in accordance with the British Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) that is awarded to sustainable buildings.

The expansion of Origo and the building of a multi-floor business centre at Satekles Street 2B in Rīga was handled by the real estate development and management company Linstow Baltic, and the object is owned by SIA Development Agency and Linstow AS. The work was done in partnership with SIA Skonto Būve as the main contractor, PS Arcade for design (the SIA DEPO project architectural firm and engineers from SIA Jensen Consult and Arhis), as well as the interior design specialists from SIA xcelsior.

Jānis Kreicburgs, construction project director for SIA Skonto Būve and project director for Origo, also won top honours in the awards process as "Project Director of the Year 2020." "We put a great deal of effort into the Origo project, and during the process we had to implement various changes," he remembers. "We had to redesign the structures to satisfy additional terms and conditions, and now we can be proud of a truly high-quality result.  I am delighted that 12 years ago I was awarded the title of the best young specialist, and now I have received a new level of recognition from the sector."

In parallel to the competition, there was also the "Latvian Construction Engineer of the Year 2020" competition, with six categories for the best and senior experts of the construction industry, as well as younger specialists who made a true and highly appreciated investment in the process last year. The professionalism and responsibility of Skonto Būve employees was assessed by experts in the sector.

Skonto Būve and Skonto Construction design co-ordinator Mareks Petrovskis was declared to be the young specialist of the year for his work on the Origo project. "This prize is really an evaluation of the whole team for a job well done," he says.  "My role changed several times and fundamentally during the process.  I started as an assistant to the construction director and a job safety specialist. After a brief period studying abroad, I became the design co-ordinator, and I worked with designers, budget people, other teams of colleagues, as well as the client to deal with a massive amount of information over the course of the past three years. We are working intensively to create the optimal solutions for the jobs that are entrusted to us. Right now my priority is the reconstruction of the New Rīga Theatre, and for me personally, that is a project with a huge amount of added value."

SIA Skonto Būve construction director Sergejs Šnepsts won 2nd prize in the construction director of the year 2020 competition, also for his work on the Origo project. "I joined the team during the last year of the project, and my job was to organise the implementation of a complicated project at the site," he says. "Origo is not just a shopping centre. It is also a business complex and a transport node in the very heart of the capital city. It is a large object, and the buildings are used in various ways. Work on rebuilding the existing building and adding new buildings, therefore, was complicated and challenging, but at the end of the day I welcome the fact that the work was done with a very high level of quality, indeed."

The Latvian Construction Awards 2020 competition received nearly 140 applications in ten different categories of architecture and construction. The competition in 2021 was the 7th one. The competition is organised by the Building Design and Construction Council to enhance the prestige of the construction, design and architecture sectors in Latvia, as well as to popularise experience with best practices in Latvia and beyond its borders.

The new RTU Faculty of Computer Science and Information Technology building celebrates the topping-out ceremony


On September 29, an oak wreath rose high above the roofs of the Riga Technical University (RTU) Student Campus, as it was announced by the RTU Faculty of Computer Science and Information Technology (CSIT) and the LLC Skonto Būve builders who are building the new general auditorium centre, stating that one important stage in the construction of the new building has been completed and that the topping-out ceremony can be celebrated. When the new buildings will be completed, CSIT will also move to Kipsala (Ķīpsala), and all RTU faculties of engineering will be concentrated in one place – Kipsala. 

“This is a very important step for RTU, because with the construction of these buildings the contours of our Kipsala student campus have been completed,” said RTU Rector Leonīds Ribickis at the topping-out ceremony, expressing gratitude to the builders, thanks to whom the future building has gained an overview.

Currently, CSIT study buildings are located near Kipsala, but for the first time in the history of the faculty, a new building is being built that is especially suitable for CSIT needs. It will have not only auditoriums and laboratories, but also a general auditorium centre, where lectures, conferences and other events will take place, which will gather a large number of participants. 

“This is a worthy place for our faculty, joining the family of other RTU faculties in Kipsala,” said CSIT dean Agris Ņikitenko. However, his predecessor as dean, Jānis Grundspeņķis, remembered how he had previously participated in the improvement of previous faculty buildings, but these were buildings that were adapted only to the needs of CSIT, and this building “we have long deserved,” said J. Grundspeņķis.  

The topping-out ceremony is primarily a celebration for builders because they have done a great job and are willing to share their accomplishments with the owners. “I would like to thank my team, building designers, construction supervisors, architects,” said Juris Pētersons, a member of the board of LLC Skonto Būve, who thanked all those involved in the construction of the building, reminding that the builders still have a long way to go before the building is placed in service next spring and students can start studying there.

CSIT students are happy about the building – Alise Drozdova, the head of CSIT self-government, said that students are looking forward to starting their studies in the new building. 

Traditionally, during the topping-out ceremony, the wreath is hung at the highest point of the building for 10 days, but after that the wreath must never be disposed of – it must be kept as a symbol of security and blessing in the building. 

The new buildings are funded by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Council of Europe Development Bank. 

"Skonto būve" and "Skonto Construction" started construction of the New Riga Theatre


On Thursday, July 9, “Skonto Būve” and “Skonto Construction” received the construction site of the New Riga Theatre (NRT) at 25 Lāčplēša Street from „Valsts nekustamie īpašumi” (VNĪ) to start the reconstruction of the historic building, which will result in appearance of a modern, energy efficient building equipped for the needs of modern theatre of the 21st century.

“The project is very complex, moreover, it should be taken into account that the building borders on all sides with the buildings of the historical centre of Riga. Buildings that are more than 100 years old, built on shallow foundations. The successful implementation of the project will largely depend on how well and productively the parties involved will be able to work together to achieve the common goal. For our part, we will do everything we can to ensure that the cooperation is successful and that the theatre returns to its premises within the planned timeframe,” Juris Pētersons, member of the Board of “Skonto būve” emphasized.

The reconstruction of the new Riga Theater will take place according to the “design and build” principle, performing design in the BIM (Building Information Modelling) environment. The construction will take place according to the project of architect Zaiga Gaile.

For the needs of the theatre, technological equipment corresponding to a modern theatre will be provided - energy-efficient installation of LED stage lighting, high-quality acoustic solutions and modern stage technologies with easily controlled and programmable hoists, as well as built-in furniture. The large “black-box” hall has a ceiling with tensioned cable ropes, on which it is possible to walk, adapting the hall to various scenic intentions - such a solution has not been implemented in Latvia so far. The project also considers the provision of environmental accessibility for all spectator halls and sound systems for hearing-impaired visitors.

Reconstruction of the historic building of the New Riga Theatre to be carried out by “Skonto būve” and “Skonto Construction”


Association of companies SIA “Skonto būve” and SIA “Skonto Construction” to conclude a contract with the SJSC “Valsts nekustamie īpašumi” on the reconstruction of the historic building of the New Riga Theatre for the contract price of 29.9 million euros.

Starting the construction, the initial works of the companies will be related to dismantling the historic facade of the theatre building and developing solutions to ensure the careful application of piles for the construction of a new volume of construction without affecting the surrounding buildings. Only after the development and inspection of these solutions the construction in the yard area will be resumed. Strict safety requirements have been imposed by the customer, as construction takes place in the historic centre of Riga, in a densely built neighbourhood with intensive traffic on Lāčplēša iela along the border of the construction site.

The construction of NRT will continue in accordance with the needs of the New Riga Theatre and the basis of the project developed by the general partnership “Zaigas Gailes Birojs un Partneri”.Technological equipment will be provided in line with the needs of a modern theatre - energy efficient LED stage lighting, high-quality acoustic solutions and modern stage technologies with easily controlled and programmable elevators, as well as built-in furniture. The large “black-box” hall will have a tensioned cable grid ceiling suitable for walking, in order to adapt the hall and implement wide variety of stage design plans - this is a never-before-seen solution in Latvia. The design also provides for accessibility to all spectator halls and sound systems for visitors with hearing impairments.

The process of design and construction of the theater will be organized and managed by an experienced team, which has just successfully implemented a very complex project from the technical and infrastructure point of view — the new building of the trade and office complex “Origo ONE” at the Riga Central Railway Station, which opened doors to its visitors in early April this year.