Winner of the Riga Ropax Terminal architectural competition – Zaha Hadid Architects


Today, May 7, the winners of the architectural competition for a new passenger and ro-ro cargo terminal of Riga Ropax Terminal were awarded. The world-famous London-based architect firm Zaha Hadid Architects won the first prize. The next step in the new terminal’s development is work on the construction design. If the project is developed successfully, Riga Ropax Terminal will open its doors to passengers in 2028.

In accordance with a local plan for the southern part of Eksportosta, which has been approved by Riga City Council, the architectural competition was open to anyone who qualified. Ten entries were received in the design competition. The third prize was awarded to Berenblum Busch Architects from the U.S.A., the second prize went to R-Konsult from Estonia, and the first prize to Zaha Hadid Architects. A prize fund of 35 000 euros was distributed among the three winning architectural designs. The jury was composed of representatives of Riga City Council, Freeport of Riga Authority, National Cultural Heritage Board, Pētersala-Andrejsala Neighborhood Association, Bouygues Bâtiment International, Latvian Association of Architects and Riga Ropax Terminal.

Jūlija Bērziņa, Manager of the Riga Ropax Terminal Project: “We are pleased about the results of the Riga Ropax Terminal architectural competition, not just the high-quality entry of Zaha Hadid Architects, but also about the generally strong interest in this competition. Almost 60 architect firms applied for the competition dossier, and 10 of them sent in their entries. Work on the competition has been completed, but the most responsible work is just beginning - to create in cooperation with Riga Ropax Terminal, Freeport of Riga, Riga City Council, the Ministry of Transport and the relevant institutions a mobility solution for the capital city that would create convenience and real value, attract investors, and develop the economy of Riga and Latvia. Work is currently ongoing to implement the next phase of the project – designing – as soon as possible to provide a modern passenger terminal for sea travelers, residents and visitors. Active work is also underway to build and strengthen cooperation with passenger shipping lines. The new terminal will certainly enhance Riga's coastal panorama and become a landmark for sea travelers."

Gianluca Racana, Director, Zaha Hadid Architects: “It is an honour to have been selected for such an exciting project which will redefine a strategic part of the city of Riga. Combining design innovation with the highest standards of user-experience and environmental sustainability, Riga Ropax Terminal will be an architectural landmark that serves as a gateway to Riga’s future while respecting its rich history a leading port city. By re-using the site’s existing concrete structures, together with local materials from recycled and renewable sources, the new terminal will be a benchmark in environmentally responsible architecture that incorporates advanced design solutions to reduce energy demand and carbon emissions. With vastly improved access to the waterfront and generous amounts of new public space, the project will ensure the areas becomes a popular civic destination for generations to come.”

"A new, modern passenger terminal is Riga's opportunity to restart regular ferry traffic in the Port of Riga, as well as to increase the number of cruise ship and tourist passengers, generating additional long-term revenue to the capital and the national economy. I am glad about the high-quality architectural proposals for the project's visual and technical framework. This is a good start for the further realization of the Riga Ropax Terminal project, which, I should say, has already drawn a wider positive response and interest from international partners," says Freeport of Riga CEO Ansis Zeltiņš, noting that already this year, the Freeport of Riga Authority, as part of cooperation with Riga Ropax Terminal, is ready to start work on the first stage of the project under its supervision – the renovation of the historic ED dam and the dredging of the port basin to improve the safety of vessel access and navigation in Eksportosta.


Riga Vice Mayor Edvards Ratnieks: “Tourists and the development of the tourism industry are important to Riga. One of the most effective ways to achieve it is through cruise ship calls to our port. We therefore hope that with the development of the new passenger terminal, Riga will not only obtain a modern terminal and service, but will also become a home port of cruise ships. This will raise the city’s profile on the international tourism map and provide new economic opportunities and jobs to local residents.”

In parallel to the architectural competition, the developers of the Riga Ropax Terminal project are actively working on attracting investment and project partners, as well as promoting the project on a global level. In 2020, a letter of intent was signed between the Freeport of Riga Authority and the developer of Riga Ropax Terminal. In summer 2023, Riga Ropax Terminal, the Port of Stockholm and the Freeport of Riga Authority signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen their cooperation, which includes cooperation on joint applications for EU-co-funded projects, with three joint applications submitted to date. Each year, Riga Ropax Terminal participates in Seatrade Cruise Global Miami, the largest trade fair for cruise industry professionals. The project's developers also took part in the 2023 Seatrade exhibition in Hamburg and the international real estate and investment forum MIPIM in Cannes.

Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) redefined architecture for the 21st century with a repertoire of projects that have captured imaginations across the globe. Creating buildings uniquely tailored to the communities they serve, ZHA has been awarded the highest honors from professional and academic institutions worldwide. Founded by Zaha Hadid in 1979, ZHA’s decades of pioneering research are inscribed within their designs to become more spatially inventive, more structurally efficient, more technologically advanced, and more environmentally considerate. Combining innovative design solutions with ecologically sound materials and sustainable construction practices, ZHA’s architecture meets the aspirations of each new generation.


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