It's not quite what you might think - that the new cultural space in Ķīpsala, Ogļu Street, financed by the "Ola Foundation" of the Ilze and Uldis Pīlēni family foundation from Liepāja, and designed by Uld Pīlēn, will float above the treetops and be visible from a long distance away. The building known as the "Egg" can only be seen in its entirety if you come very close to it. This is what the creator of "Olas" wanted, respecting the existing building scale of Ķīpsala and the surrounding hundred-year-old trees. Therefore, the concrete and glass three-story building is "sat" in a recess.
As for the content of the building, I would like to say that it is aimed at developing both mind and sensitivity. Mind - with seminars, lectures, discussions. Sensitivity - with art and music.
Portal irliepaja.lv The "Egg" is introduced by a knowledgeable, kind and sensitive guide - the owner of the house, Ilze Pīlēna.
"Oliņa" has three floors. We are currently five meters underground, on the floor of the exhibition hall, which is not visible from the outside. This is the lowest place in Ķīpsala with a high groundwater level, so the underground floor is built without the traditional foundations of the building, replacing them with a structure similar to the hold of a ship , called a caisson in the language of builders.
The construction lasted a year and a half and, without exaggeration, it was a real creative laboratory,
where Uldis Pīlēns together with his "UPB engineering team" has created countless technological and innovative solutions that can be seen at every step in "Ola". In addition, the building is equipped with BMS control systems, which allow all technical matters to be managed remotely. I like Ulda's saying that the task and mission of an architect is to document the possibilities of the time in which the architect lives. Walking around the "Egg", you can see that it is one hundred percent a "document" of its time, or a testimony of today's construction and technological possibilities and achievements. It is a pleasure that it is also appreciated by students from the faculties of architecture, design and engineering, who are frequent guests here for study purposes," says Ilze.
The owner of "Ola" is Ilze Pīlēna. Publicity photo.
One of the most innovative and interesting solutions is the retractable roof of the building, which allows not only to see the edge of the blue sky in the summer, but also to feel the scents of nature and the voices of birds, creating the feeling of a courtyard. The roof, which is covered with grass, can be climbed by a free-standing stainless steel staircase designed as a separate art object.
The building is easily accessible for people with special needs, including a seminar hall equipped with special technologies for the hearing impaired. "Ola" regularly hosts various seminars, including free lectures for young people, for example, on May 3, Valdis Zatlers told about his journey from doctor to president. Seminar organizers and guests also have a cozy hotel with ten rooms in a separate building.
In response to the question why "Egg" in particular, Ilze recounts the philosophical sentence: "If an egg is torn from the outside, it is the end of an unborn life, but,
if the egg breaks from the inside with someone's help, it's a new beginning".
"To give many new, high-quality beginnings in art, culture, education - that is also the goal of our foundation."
The "egg" shape, which is best read from a bird's eye perspective, was intended for the building by its architect, and the first sketch was made in five minutes. It can now be viewed on the top floor of the building, and it can be seen that it is very close to the technical design of the building that was created later.
Also in the internal structure of the building, which is the same on all floors, the egg principle is symbolically preserved - yellow in the middle, white around. On the other hand, the six-meter-high milk glass plates that enclose the building symbolize a torn shell.
Art and music
The floor, located at ground level, houses a three hundred square meter exhibition gallery with professional lighting, where changing exhibitions are planned, says Ilze. Currently, the first exhibition is on display there - "Changeless" with a significant exposition of contemporary art from the private collection of the "Ola Foundation".
Entrants are welcomed by Ilmārs Blumberg's "Servant", which Ilze says is "the heart and core of our collection".
The text in the background of the sculpture, which the owners of "Ola" also adopted as their motto, was sent to Ilze by e-mail years ago by the artist himself.
Some of the works from the collection of the owners of "Ola" that can be viewed at the moment have also remained in the exhibition hall of the Liepāja Museum, but since then many new works have been added to the collection - works by Frančeska Kirke, Džemma Skulme, Ieva Iltnere, Vija Zariņa, Sandra Krastiņa and others.
The people of Liepāja might be particularly interested in the two other exhibitions on the upper floors of "Eggs" - Uldis Briedis photo exhibition "Free to be", which is dedicated to the greats of Latvian culture, the power of survival and self-pride of our nation, and the debut exhibition of Uldis's son Harijs Briedis - a large-format cycle. Seven different flowers", which is a complete contrast to the black and white, documentary photographs of the father.
"Ola", establishing itself on the cultural map of Latvia, has also started active activities in the field of music, Raimonds Pauls, actor Andris Keišs, Sonora Vaice, group "Melo M", pianists Reinis Zariņš, Andrejs Osokins and many others have performed here. On May 13, Vestards Šimkus and Elīna Šimkus will perform their concert program "Ola". The new, rising Latvian music star group "Trio Fabel'" concert was even nominated by "Radio Klasika" as one of the ten best concerts in Latvia last year.
The interior of the building has managed to combine both the best created in Latvia and those made by foreign artists, for example, the three light fixtures specially designed for "Ola" come from Morocco. They feature historic Moroccan design combined with modern technology. The diameter of the largest chandelier exceeds three meters, its weight is 600 kilograms.
The following exhibitions can be viewed at "Ola" at the moment:
- "Ola Foundation" private collection exhibition "Changed Unchanged" (permanent)
- Uldis Briedis photo exhibition "Free to be. Uldis Briedis. Portraits (1966-2010)" (until June 30)
- Harijs Briedis large-format photo series "Seven different flowers" (until June 30).