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Due to Latvias’ location on the border between Eastern and Western Europe, it has often suffered through economic hardship and cultural transitions. Rift is an urban centre that can withstand both the harsh physical climate and cultural shifts of this place. Inspired by the glacial retreat some thirteen-thousand years ago that first carved out the Liepaja Canal, the building has a strong and solid presence, but it is not without crevasses and fractures that are physical manifestations of the relationship between the proposal and its’ context.


Life in Liepaja is cultivated by the city’s relationship to the waterfront channel, from its’ origination as a port city to its transition into a promising tourist attraction. Rift is situated on the Liepaja canal waterfront, between the Old Canal waterfront and the Zirgu Sala. This central location provides the opportunity to connect the existing canal waterfront zones, in addition to standing alone as an attraction. Taking a cue from the existing foot traffic patterns on the site, organization and circulation are preserved within the building, forming natural programmatic divisions. The intersections of paths create focal points for access and a new public amphitheater.


Rifts; or boundaries of potential energy, occur from the interaction between various influences on the site, these influences manifest as the flow of pedestrian and vehicular traffic, access to the waterfront and points of interest of the city. The interaction of forces of influence range in volatility, and create fractures of corresponding magnitude in the building. Referencing glacial flow, the roof encapsulates the volatility in stress lines and fissures that can be observed by those approaching and occupying it.


Architecture Competition


Liepaja, LV



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