Museum building restoration and reconstruction
The Riga Stock Exchange building is an architectural monument of national importance. It was built between 1852 and 1855 in the style of a Venetian renaissance palazzo symbolising wealth and plenitude. The design was by the St. Petersburg architect of German origin Harald Julius Bosse (1812–1894). Standing out in the magnificent interior with its lavish use of gilding and artificial marble are the main hall on the ground floor (now the museum’s Great Exhibition Hall, the galleries on the third and fourth floors (now the European and Asian Art Galleries) as well as the ceremonial halls on the fourth floor (now the European Art Gallery). For the first time in history, all theses rooms are open to the public.
From 2008 till 2011, the Riga Stock Exchange underwent major reconstruction and restoration in order to return the building to its former glory. The building had been not only highly functional for the needs of the time but also one of the finest in the city. If the ground floor trading area had been comparatively ascetic, then the main staircase and upper floor enfilade stood out with their sophisticated interiors richly embellished with artificial marble rendering, fine furniture and other interior objects.
A major factor in carrying out the reconstruction was the status of a State Cultural Monument. This meant that the body of valuable interior details had to be restored and preserved and only insignificant changes to the layout were allowed. After reconstruction and restoration the building and arrangement of rooms was transformed to ensure access for visitors with limited mobility. Special consideration was also given to families with small children. The rooms of the Riga Stock Exchange are now suitable for the needs of the museum’s permanent display and a suitable microclimate is ensured for the organisation of international exhibitions on various scales. The building has exhibition halls equipped to modern day standards, various displays, educational, seminar and conference accommodation.
The Riga Stock Exchange building is one of the objects that has been renovated leading up to Latvia’s centenary within the programme “Heritage – 2018: cultural infrastructure improvement programme 2006-2018”. The reconstruction and restoration for museum needs was commissioned by the State Real Estate Company and the general contractor was RBS Skals. The design was by Arhitektoniskās izpētes grupa Ltd.