“There is a legend about King’s daughter Roze who still lives underneath the Rezekne castle mound and waits for the one to bring her into the world… Meanwhile a wizard came on the other side and lifted the earth up. A free space was left there for every little kid in Rezekne to grow up tall, wise and special. And the wizard stuck the pencils into the ground. The teenagers came and climbed up there to show themselves and their great works. Let the gentlemen of Riga to admire!”

Rethinking The Future Awards 2022
Architects: SAALS Architecture
Area: 4400.0 m2
Year: 2014
Zeimuls, Centre of Creative Services of Eastern Latvia By SAALS Architecture - Sheet3
© Jevgenij Nikitin, Janis Mickevics, Ingus Bajars

The idea of the building was developed as a proposal for an architecture competition for a place next to the castle mound of Rezekne and aim of the city – to create innovative, creative environment for children and youth in Rezekne that would stimulate the young graduates to return to live and work in Rezekne town after their studies, unique, new leading-motive for the development of the town, new impress of time.

Zeimuls, Centre of Creative Services of Eastern Latvia By SAALS Architecture - Sheet5
© Jevgenij Nikitin, Janis Mickevics, Ingus Bajars

The volume of the space is bent around the local dominant – the castle mound of Rezekne; it is embodied in the terrain of surroundings with open views towards the castle mound and the church. The “pencils” stuck in the green volume serve as the foreground for the existing soviet period buildings. ‘… A dramatic landscape on the edge of the town centre facing an ancient castle mound with medieval, state-preserved ruins- the main tourist attraction of the town. It was the site itself that suggested the building should settle deep into the ground and that the fifth facade – the geometrically triangulated green roof – should become the main feature of the structure.

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Zeimuls, Centre of Creative Services of Eastern Latvia By SAALS Architecture - Sheet6
© Jevgenij Nikitin, Janis Mickevics, Ingus Bajars

The building is a structure of exposed, monolithic concrete, plastered on the exterior. Still, most of the rooms are rectangular in plan – the dramatic ceilings of exposed concrete and variable window geometries create the amazing diversity and uniqueness of space. The shape of the roof not only creates a feeling of safety and protection for the children, but also allows for an ample and diverse flow of natural light through various openings into all the rooms, halls and corridors, while from the outside it shines mysteriously in the darkness. An intimate inner courtyard on the ground floor brings light into activity rooms located further from the surface.

Zeimuls, Centre of Creative Services of Eastern Latvia By SAALS Architecture - Sheet7
© Jevgenij Nikitin, Janis Mickevics, Ingus Bajars

The landscaping around the building, in both concrete and green surfaces, continues the same geometric principles as used for the roofs with surprising sculptural feel and artistic touch in every detail. The new structure became an integral part of the existing dramatic landscape, and even a part of local legends and fairy tales, extending the popular imaginations. It is example of contemporary design emerging from physical and emotional surroundings, from local spirit and traditional archetypes, providing a warm and friendly new environment for the kids. Despite its 6000m2 area, the building feels human and homely, compatible with the small-scale historical buildings of the town’s centre.’ A10, *48, Anita Antenišķe

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Rethinking The Future Awards 2022