Andris Kronbergs (b. 1951) is one of the most notable contemporary architects in Latvia. His work since the restoration of independence has not only been prolific but also creative conceptually, offering innovative solutions with regard to scale, form, and materials appropriate to the regional environment. Kronbergs’s accomplishments often reflect a talent for working with Latvian landscapes, but he has also been drawn to the scope of projects involving city planning and infrastructure as well as the latest in construction technologies.
One of the best known Kronbergs projects was the renovation and expansion of the Riga International Airport, the busiest airport in the Baltic states and thus the gateway to the region, designed in collaboration with ARHIS. The elegant new treasury of the Bank of Latvia in Pārdaugava, Riga’s left bank, is another Kronbergs building. Both the airport and the treasury are among the first structures visitors to Latvia see, acting as gates to the capital. Both are mature works after a career that includes designing high-rises, cultural centers, residences and office buildings.
Kronbergs’s style has been profoundly influenced by nature and the landscape. In his more recent architecture the necessity for structures to be integrated into nature is explicit. In a private residence in Sigulda and a printing plant in Daugmale, the borders between the building and its environment are erased entirely by the concealment of part of the structure in the surrounding earth. A current project in Koknese pursues a similar strategy and will also make use of solar energy.
Kronbergs has always considered the conservation of resources a vital part of his architecture. Another focus has been on reclaiming degraded environments. The double façade of office and retail space on Ģertrūdes Street in Riga is one example. The reconstruction of post-war buildings, converting hideous examples of Soviet architecture into modern, attractive buildings, has been a long-running effort.
Andris Kronbergs’s works exhibit a great talent for conceptualization, creatively interpreting Latvia’s placid landscapes and varied architectural traditions. Whether in a small rural tomb or a wooden house in Jūrmala, Kronbergs can inspire even in smaller projects, creating a unique local school of architecture. Kronbergs was a student of the notable architect Modris Ģelzis and extends the approach taken by Ernests Štālbergs, one of Latvia’s seminal modern architects. The recipient of numerous awards, Kronbergs founded ARHIS together with Arnis Kleinbergs.