The Latvian Association of Architects (LAS) is the only professional organisation of architects in Latvia. Its membership comprises more than 400 professional architects. LAS was founded in 1924, and its seat is in Riga, Torņa iela 11, in the Architects’ House.
LAS’s main areas of activity:
Professionals who have obtained an architect’s diploma / 2nd-level higher education in architecture can become members of LAS. To become a member, an application and related documents must be submitted to the Council by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org, delivering them in person or sending them by mail.
Members have the right to participate in LAS’s management, submit proposals and express opinions on the Association’s activities, and participate in its events. Members also have the right to familiarise themselves with the decisions, orders and protocols of all LAS institutions, as well as to run for Council elections. Members must comply with LAS statutes and the Architect’s Code of Ethics, support the implementation of LAS goals, and pay the membership fee of EUR 90.00 once a year.
Admission of members is governed by the Regulations on the procedure for admitting and expelling members.
LAS is made up of its members. The highest decision-making body is the general assembly of members – the Congress – which is convened every three years. Between Congresses, LAS’s decision-making body is the Council, while its executive body is the Board. Operating within the Latvian Association of Architects are the Ethics Committee, the Audit Committee, and the Certification Centre.
The Board convenes the Congress at least once every three years. All LAS members are entitled to participate in the Congress, and it is considered a quorum if more than half of the members participate. If there is no quorum, the Congress is reconvened, and it is considered a quorum if at least 2 members participate.
The Congress adopts the future LAS activity programme; makes amendments to the statutes; elects and revokes the Council, the Audit Committee, and the Ethics Committee; approves the Architect’s Code of Ethics; and makes decisions on changes to LAS’s structure, its liquidation, or its reorganisation.
A booklet is prepared for the Congress with an overview of LAS activities in the previous 3 years:
Congress booklets are also available onsite at LAS.
The Council consists of 30 to 60 LAS members, some of whom are elected by the Congress, while the rest are appointed by the Council. The Council makes decisions by voting in open meetings with minutes taken. The meeting minutes are available to all LAS members. The Council’s activities are regulated by the Council Regulations.
The Council currently consists of the following members: Juris Poga, Gatis Didrihsons, Gunta Grikmane, Viktors Valgums, Andris Kronbergs, Elīna Rožulapa, Uģis Bratuškins, Reinis Liepiņš, Sandra Treija, Artūrs Lapiņš, Edgars Bērziņš, Daiga Dzedone, Brigita Bula, Madara Gibze, Ingurds Lazdiņš, Velta Holcmane, Jānis Krastiņš, Renārs Putniņš, Jānis Atelbauers, Liene Adumāne-Vāvere, Juris Mitenbergs, Sergejs Ņikiforovs, Agnese Lāce, Raimonds Saulītis, Gvido Princis, Zanda Treimane, Armands Bisenieks, Ilma Valdmane, Oskars Vāvere, Vilnis Šlars.
The President is the highest official of LAS, elected by the Council. The President represents LAS in communication with the public, with state and local government institutions, and with international organisations, expressing the Association’s position on issues affecting the professional field and LAS activity areas.
The current LAS President is Juris Poga (email@example.com), while the Vice Presidents are Gatis Didrihsons, Gunta Grikmane and Viktors Valgums.
The Board consists of 5 persons, the majority of whom are LAS members. The Board and the Chair of the Board are elected by the Council for a three-year term. Board meetings are also open, minutes are taken, and the minutes are available to LAS members. The Board’s activities are governed by the Board Regulations.
The Board currently consists of the following members:
The Ethics Committee is the LAS institution that monitors compliance with the Architect’s Code of Ethics. The Code stipulates architects’ conduct and ethical principles in accordance with the instructions of the Architects’ Council of Europe and the European Parliament. The Committee promotes compliance with the Architect’s Code of Ethics among LAS members and certified architects, examining issues and providing opinions regarding possible violations thereof. The Ethics Committee’s activities are governed by the Regulations of the Ethics Committee.
The Ethics Committee currently consists of the following members: Dainis Bērziņš, Linda Krūmiņa, Ilma Valdmane, Jānis Atelbauers, Daiga Dzedone, Armands Bisenieks, Ingrīda Priedīte.
The Audit Committee monitors LAS’s financial and economic activity. The Committee conducts an audit at least once a year, preparing an opinion on the Association’s budget, evaluating LAS’s accounting and record-keeping work, and providing recommendations for improving financial and economic activity.
The Audit Committee currently consists of the following members: Māra Ābele, Rita Balode, Zane Koroļa, Dace Putniņa, Elizabete Freimane.
Professional Recognition Committee
The Committee’s task is to select candidates for various nationally important awards – the Order of the Three Stars and its medals of honour, the Construction Industry Grand Prix organised by the Latvian Association of Civil Engineers, and the Lifetime Scholarship of the State Culture Capital Foundation (SCCF) – as well as for work at the SCCF in the Design and Architecture sector.
The Professional Recognition Committee currently consists of the following members: Velta Holcmane, Linda Leitāne, Raimonds Saulītis, Madara Gibze, Edvīns Vecumnieks.
In addition to the permanent committees, several territorial and other organisationally independent structural units / working groups have been established under the auspices of LAS, which are represented in the LAS Council. A working group on practice and a working group on competitions are active. Management of working groups and individual projects is entrusted to both LAS members and invited specialists. The activities of structural units are governed by the Regulations on structural units.
The International Division provides support to the Board in representing LAS in international organisations and in relations with likeminded organisations and colleagues abroad. The strategic goal of the Division is to get closer to the Nordic Council.
The older generation of architects gathers at the Seniors’ Club meetings, which take place on the third Wednesday of every month. Participants address current events and cultural history issues in an informal atmosphere.
Ski Club (LASK)
Since 2001, LASK has been organising annual downhill skiing trips to the Alps for architects and LAS members. In organising the trips, LASK accepts financial support from the construction material manufacturing company KNAUF, thereby reducing costs.
Association of Young Architects (JAA)
In 2009, when several young architects became members of LAS, a structural unit of likeminded architects was established. Its purpose is to get involved, strengthen LAS’s activities and offer the organisation a new vision and contemporary ideas.
The Restorers’ Group was founded with the aim of promoting exchange of information in a specialist environment on issues of restoring historical buildings and places. Along with practical activities, the Restorers’ Group carries out research and educational activities.
LAS’s policies regarding processes affecting architects are based on the belief that the creation of quality human living space is rooted in the ideals of creativity, democracy and sustainability.
Creating and maintaining the human-inhabited environment
LAS believes that quality architecture is a space, structure or form arising from architects’ creative activity that gives added value to the environment, making a long-term contribution to its development. LAS supports the development of architecture and urban environments that satisfy people’s physical and spiritual needs and respond to the aesthetic, technical, sociological, economic and ecological aspects of the surrounding environment. At the same time, LAS supports the preservation, cultivation and further development of historical architecture and the cultural-historical environment, recognising this as an important factor in local identity. LAS emphasises the principles of functionality and sustainability in both creating and maintaining the human-inhabited environment.
Creating and maintaining architects’ professional environment
LAS advocates maintaining and strengthening the status of architecture as a regulated profession. LAS stands for principles that ensure fair competition among colleagues and are based on ethical values and professional evaluation criteria, facilitating the wide availability of architects’ services throughout the country for all members of society. LAS contributes to the development of architectural education at all levels, furthering the availability and diversity of education, and endeavours in its activities to promote the profession of architect both in Latvia and internationally.
Relations with those involved in creating the human environment
LAS believes in respectful and dialogue-based relations with users, clients and builders of architecture as well as representatives of related professions. LAS actively learns about public opinion, promotes dialogue with society and evaluation of perspectives in professional work, and represents architects’ viewpoints in dialogue with society. Given the interdisciplinary nature of contemporary architecture, LAS advocates building awareness between architects and representatives of related professions, including builders. LAS participates in the creation of state and municipal regulatory acts and, using the right of legislative initiative, endeavours to influence the activities of Latvian state institutions in matters directly related to the field of architecture.
LAS advocates a balanced development of the country, the goal of which is the most harmonious socioeconomic environment in society. LAS encourages the preservation of nature, recommending the use of environmentally friendly solutions and materials, and promotes the philosophy and practice of sustainable, resource-saving and responsible architecture. In line with the development processes and practices of world architecture, an important goal of LAS is the preservation, formation and cultivation of local identity and regional characteristics. LAS supports innovations created in Latvia, including high-quality local construction industry products and technologies.
The principles of LAS’s policy-related activities are defined in the Policy Guidelines.
LAS collaborates with other non-governmental organisations in related industries and their associations, both in Latvia and internationally, and also promotes the expansion of such collaboration.
Founded in 1948, the UIA is a federation of national professional organisations that unites architects, influences government policy, and advances architecture for the public good. LAS, together with Estonian and Lithuanian architects’ unions, forms the UIA collective member BAUA (Baltic Architects Unions Association) and operates in Region 2, which comprises Central Europe, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. LAS President Juris Poga represents LAS’s interests in communicating and cooperating with the UIA.
BAUA is the official representative of the Baltic States in the UIA. It is made up of Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian architects’ unions, whose common goal is to promote Baltic architecture worldwide. BAUA members create a joint exposition at the UIA Congress and organise a show of the best degree candidates at Baltic schools of architecture.
ACE is a professional European architects’ organisation whose aim is to develop the field of architecture and maintain its quality. ACE has permanent working groups that focus on issues of architect practice, standards, educational regulations and recommendations. Twice a year, the ACE General Assembly takes place, where representatives of the member states jointly review the working groups’ projects, discussing them and endorsing or approving them.
EFAP is an international network that promotes architecture and architecture policy in Europe, bringing together public administration, vocation, culture and education. EFAP aims to make knowledge and good practice principles available in the field of architectural policy by organising expert meetings, public events and publications.
CCUL is an umbrella organisation of ten creative unions with over 3,000 members and includes LAS. It was founded and continues to operate with a vision of maintaining and developing the Latvian language and culture as the foundation of the Latvian state. CCUL is the largest non-governmental organisation of the cultural sector, protecting the professional, social and economic rights and interests of those working in it.
The Construction Council of Latvia is an advisory coordinating institution whose purpose is to promote public participation in developing and implementing construction policy. In accordance with the public interest, the Council submits to the Ministry of Economics and other ministries proposals for regulatory acts, policy planning documents, and EU international legal acts related to the construction industry.
The National Architectural Council of Latvia is under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture and is a collegial advisory institution whose purpose is to coordinate and promote cooperation between state institutions and industry professionals in matters related to developing the architecture industry and creating quality living space.
The Council offers expertise on planning the territory of Riga’s historic centre, evaluating plans for the construction of new objects, the reconstruction or demolition of buildings and structures, and the installation and restoration of monuments in the historical centre and its protection zone. It provides opinions to the State Inspection for Heritage Protection and the Riga City Council institution responsible for protecting cultural monuments on the impact of various transformations on the cultural-historical environment. It also has other functions in accordance with the Law on Preservation and Protection of the Historic Centre of Riga. Artūrs Lapiņš represents LAS in this council.
The Council is a public advisory institution whose purpose is to promote the cooperation of institutions in decision-making on matters related to installing monuments and memorial signs and creating memorial sites. It also considers issues related to the placement of explanatory information boards near objects which do not meet the status of state-protected cultural monuments, but which are located in societally important places as monuments or memorials.
The first professional organisation of architects in Latvia, Architektenverein zu Riga, was founded in 1889 in Riga. In 1924, Latvian architects united in the Society of Latvian Architects, whose aim was to promote the development of architecture in Latvia. Two years after its foundation, the Society purchased a residential building from the City of Riga at Torņa iela 11, also known as the Swedish Gate, building its headquarters there according to a design by architect Aleksandrs Trofimovs. After several reconstructions, the building still functions as the Architects’ House.
In 1944, about three quarters of the Society’s members emigrated. In the first years of exile, the Society was active in Germany, but gradually its members also moved to Sweden, the USA, Canada and Australia. The Society’s task was to identify colleagues scattered around the world and provide them with support as much as possible. From 1938 to 1940, the Society published the journal Latvijas Architektūra; from 1950 to 1993, it published the journal Architekts.
The Latvian Association of Architects (LAS) was founded in 1945 as the Union of Architects of Soviet Latvia and was part of the Union of Architects of the USSR. LAS had numerous divisions: urban planning, residential and public buildings, rural architecture, landscape architecture, industrial architecture, architectural monuments and history, interior design, architectural theory, criticism and propaganda, competitions, culture and education, and a young architects’ committee.
In 1953, LAS received a building from the City of Riga next to the Swedish Gate and expanded its headquarters according to a design by architect Artūrs Reinfelds. At the end of the eighties, cooperation between LAS and the Society was renewed, and in 1995 the two associations merged into a single organisation. Since 1993, LAS has been a member of the International Union of Architects, while together with Estonian and Lithuanian architects it forms the Baltic Architects Unions Association. In 1995, the journal Latvijas Architektūra was renewed with the support of LAS.
LAS provides various services: renting premises in the Architects’ House, advising on the organisation of architectural design competitions, organising continuing education seminars, etc.
Room reservations are accepted on working days from 10.00 to 18.00; please call +371 67212802 or +371 20028097 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information: email@example.com