On World Architecture Day, 7 October, the Annual Riga Architecture Award was presented for the fourteenth time. Of the more than 700 structures brought into service last year in Riga, 26 buildings were nominated for the award, including the "Wind Barriers at the Freeport of Riga", completed by the Freeport of Riga Authority. This year, the impressive 23-metre-high and 2-kilometre-long barriers, built on-site at the new Krievu Isle terminals, received from the Office of the Architect for the City of Riga a Special Recognition "For a Major, Large-Scale Technical Solution intended to Improve the Quality of the Environment as Part of the Development of the Port”.
According to Gvido Princis, Architect for the City of Riga: “The Port of Riga is constantly developing – infrastructure renewal and improvement work is being carried, and brand new objects are being built. Undoubtedly, buildings at the port have also caught the attention of the Office of the Architect for the City of Riga. This year, with the award of the jury’s recognition of the wind barriers as an industrial solution, we wanted to draw attention to the positive development processes at the Port of Riga. These usually take place far beyond the port’s boundaries, and often happen out of public view. Therefore, we wanted to show that today the port is implementing its projects with the urban environment in mind. The port’s industrial operations, which have traditionally developed in our city, are undoubtedly linked to certain risks to the environment and the quality of life of the city’s residents. However, it is evident that the port authority is currently thinking about how to reduce these risks, and large investments have been made in the construction of environmentally friendly structures and in the introduction of new technology”.
The wind barriers have been built as part of the biggest project in the history of the Port of Riga: "Infrastructure Development at Krievu Isle to Relocate the Port’s Operations away from the City Centre”. The purpose of the barriers is to effectively negate the effects of the prevailing winds on coal piles and prevent coal dust from being lifted up into the air and ending up in the surrounding environment. In addition to the construction of wind barriers, a range of further measures have been implemented at Krievu Isle to protect and monitor the environment. Both the Freeport of Riga Authority and port companies have invested significant funds in coal sprinkling equipment, a sealed space where wagons are overturned, coal transportation and other technology. Meanwhile, a webcam has been made available on the Freeport of Riga’s homepage, by means of which everyone can watch the loading process online and see for themselves that port operations are being conducted without any harmful impact on the environment.