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Latvian Academy of Sciences Building Architectural Gem

Architects: Osvalds Tīlmanis, Vaidelotis Apsītis, and Kārlis Plūksne

The Latvian Academy of Sciences is the official science academy of Latvia and is an association of the country’s leading scientists. The Academy of Sciences was built after World War II, between 1951 and 1961. The Latvian Academy of Science is widely regarded as the most prominent building representing the Stalinist architecture outside of Russia. The Academy was originally built as a present to Stalin, and was supposed to be unveiled for his birthday. However, Stalin died, but his present remained. During his time as a leader of the Soviet Union, Stalin made sure that he leaves legacy behind. One way that Stalin left something behind for future generations was the buildings. Stalin completely changed the style of buildings in the Soviet Union, to the point that interior decorators and architects had to come up with a term “Stalinist architecture”.

The Latvian Academy of Science is considered a “cousin” to the skyscrapers in Moscow which Stalin ordered to be built. Stalin’s high-rises is the term you’ll find for the skyscrapers in Moscow built in Stalinist style.

The building is decorated with several hammer and sickle symbols as well as Latvian folk ornaments and motifs. The spire was originally decorated with a wreath and a five pointed star, which was removed after Latvia regained independence in 1991. The architecture of the skyscraper resembles many others built in the Soviet Union at the time, most notably the main building of Moscow State University. Local nicknames include Stalin’s birthday cake and the Kremlin.

Being 108 metres (354 ft) tall, it was the first skyscraper in Latvia. The view of Riga cityscape is open for public viewing from the 17th-floor balcony which shows Riga’s Old Town and the Daugava.

The Academy was one of the first to use the new building technology of ferroconcrete construction, a method that uses concrete applied over a metal mesh. At the time it was built it was one of the tallest reinforced concrete structures built.


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