Construction of the National Library of Latvia
Customer: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia
Designers: Gunnar Birkerts Architects, INC
(author of the project)
and architects bureau Ģelzis-Šmits-Arhetips
Project implementation period: 07.2008. - 02.2015.
Adress: Mūkusalas Street 3

The construction of the National Library of Latvia (NLL) was carried out by the general partnership “Union of National Construction Companies”, which is composed of the three strongest and most experienced construction companies of Latvia, including “Skonto Būve”. The construction of the Castle of Light was started in June 2008 and completed in December 2013.

The construction of the new NLL building was one of the largest and most technologically challenging projects in the history of Latvia; therefore our participation in this project was a matter of honour and a confirmation of the professionalism of each of the companies involved. In order to accomplish the ambitious construction works, an average of 300 to 400 construction experts worked at the construction site at all times. This project is evidence of the fact that Latvians are able to bring the symbolic dream of the Castle of Light to life on their own, and to do it with a passion for their work and respect for our cultural heritage. This project is more than just a building. It has become a landmark of Latvia in the international arena of cultural objects. It is a building for future generations, a symbol of the light which glows in people, and it has the potential to be a force for creating great things that will live through time and outlast a human lifetime.

The face of the library and the main visual elements are its glass facade, peak and roof elements, comprised of almost 12,000m2 of transparent glass and more than 9,000m2 of opaque decorative glass units, produced in Latvia by the company “Skonto Plan” of the GRF group. The company “Skonto Būve” was responsible for one-third of the works, including piling works, construction of the glass facade, assembly of windows, doors and metal structures, masonry works, construction of partition walls, as well as ventilation and air conditioning systems.

Data on the construction of the building:

  • Site area: 17,431m2, of which the construction area – 12,210m2
  • Total area: 40,455m2
  • Length, width, height of the building: 170m, 44m, 68.3m
  • Initial costs of the construction of the building (excluding VAT): LVL 114.6 million
  • The building is supported by 8.9 km of piles; 501 piles were driven into the ground
  • Overall, 44,500m3 of concrete, 5,560 tons of reinforcement, and 300 tons of steel were
  • used in the construction
  • 600 tons of stainless steel were placed on the roof
  • The total cable length: 540km
  • The total piping length: 150km
  • The area of the facade: 15,300m2
  • The construction of the building required approximately 4.2 million man-hours
  • Volume of the masonry walls: 2,190m3
  • Plasterboard wall and ceiling area: 12,655m2
  • Glass area: 13,910m2
  • Area of the lifted floors: 3,707m2
  • Trees planted in the area: 26 apple trees and 15 maples
  • The maximum number of workers simultaneously employed for the construction – 450