K_Valdemara_1b_no_Vansu_tilta

Functions of the building

The building is used by the Statistics Department, which collects, records, compiles and publishes statistical information and data needed in compiling the balance of payments.

Customer service halls and departments providing customer services are located on two floors of the building. Cashier's Offices for cash transactions and the Cash Department, which coordinates cash operations of the Bank of Latvia, supervises lats cash in circulation, and organises the production and supply of lats banknotes and coins, are located on the ground floor.

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The Payment Systems Department, which manages and maintains the operation of the payment systems necessary to ensure interbank payments and customer credit transfers, as well as the Credit Register, a unit of this Department, and premises for servicing customers of the Credit Register are located on the 1st floor.

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All customer service halls and meeting rooms are accessible to persons with special needs, too.

History of the building

After the removal of city fortifications in the second half of the 19th century, the city of Riga obtained new building plots. At that time, first credit unions in Riga were founded. At the general meeting of the Credit Union of Livonian Gentry (Livlandishe Adelige Guter-Credit – Societat) in September 1885, following the assessment of Credit Union's needs, a decision was made to erect a building in Nikolaja Street (at present Krišjāņa Valdemāra Street).

The author of the design was architect Johannes Koch (1850–1915), professor of the Riga Polytechnical Institute and Dean of the Department of Architecture in 1887–1905. His design of the three-storey bank building was approved on 15 April 1887.

Ēkas fasādes skice

The Building Board reported in August 1890 that the construction works were completed. The Cashier's Office of the Credit Union of Livonian Gentry, the archives and an inventory room were located on the ground floor of the building. The building administrator and his assistant had their living quarters on the same floor. The first floor housed the operations secretariat, Credit Union director's reception room, credit convention, and the archives. The apartment of the director of the Credit Union of Livonian Gentry was located on the second floor and could be reached via special staircase next to the entrance hall.

The building had central heating and ventilation systems, and in 1909, it was connected to the city sewage system.

Skats uz ēku K. Valdemāra ielā 1B 1903. gadā

On 16 September 1921, the Latvian government decreed to liquidate the Credit Union. After the reorganisation of public administration, the building of the Credit Union of Livonian Gentry came under the management of the State Land Bank, which became operational on 2 May 1922 and was charged with the task to credit agriculture and agricultural production.

The Construction Board approved the building reconstruction plan of architect Jānis Rengarts (1892–1960) on 27 May 1939. The planned reconstruction works mainly focussed on the inner part of the building where banking operations were not carried out, including the improvement of basement. The State Land Bank also owned the neighbouring plot and the apartment house on it. The 1939 designs show a passage between the two buildings at basement and first-floor levels. The buildings were connected using the bank's stairway next to the entrance hall.

On 22 August 1940, the Cabinet of Ministers adopted the Law "On Agricultural Credit". Article 2 of the Law stipulated the State Land Bank to be renamed the Agricultural Bank of the Latvian SSR.

The building was home to the Riga 2nd Technical School of Economy in 1940–1945 and the Riga School of Accountancy and Crediting (Riga Finance and Crediting Technical School from 1949 to 1954) in 1945–1992.

After the re-establishment of national central bank, a decision was made to close the Riga School of Accountancy and Crediting and to found the Latvian Banking College, an educational institution of new type (the Latvian Banking Academy since 1998, currently the BA School of Business and Finance), which was a structural unit of the Bank of Latvia for a short period of time. The building also housed the Statistics Department of the Bank of Latvia.

Citadele Branch of Parex banka was situated in the building and opened its doors to the customers in 1993. The reconstruction plan was developed and implemented by the architecture and construction services company BUGROFF; the original interior of the first two floors of the building was accurately restored. The premises were redecorated, walls, floors and ceilings repainted, and finishing materials (cork and Swedish parquet for floors) and equipment selected.

With the JSC Parex banka taking the decision on erecting a new building in Republika Square 2A in Riga, the entire building became the Bank of Latvia property. As both facade and interior of the building, the internal engineering communication systems (heating, water supply, electrical installation) in particular, were worn out and did not meet the requirements of construction regulations, the building was renovated and reconstructed after the purchase.

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This bank building is an architectural monument of national significance (No. 8194), located in the historical centre of Riga (included in the UNESCO World Heritage List).

Style and interior elements of the building

Architect J. Kochs was a great admirer of Renaissance. The facade of the building has been designed in the Italian Neo-Renaissance style. The main facade of the building at the level of the first floor is decorated with four shields featuring coats of arms, evidencing that the building belonged to the Livonian Gentry. Three projections (risalits) accentuate the passage, entrance and corner protuberances of the building.

Ēka K. Valdemāra ielā 1B 1937. gadā

The interior of the building is luxurious and representative. It is characterised by plastic moulding, and decorative painting that imitates intarsia has been used. The Renaissance-style ornaments predominate. The central unifying composition of the interior concept can be found in the entrance hall, central stairway ...

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and former bank director's office (sail vaults and empty planes without any ornamental elements that are covered with polychrome ornate moulding in director's office).

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The vaults, arches, pilasters, columns and frames of geometrical configuration create a compact interior image of the building, with the sense of rhythm as one of its main accents. The compositions are symmetrical and often supplemented with ornamentation symbolising the essence of the bank (cornucopias, an eagle, griffins, dolphins, and laurel garlands).

The floor of the entrance hall of the building is decorated with Villeroy & Boch mosaic floor tiles forming a composition of geometrically circular flowers and wave motifs.

All operation rooms of the Credit Union had arched ceilings. The main staircase and window openings (window-sills) are made of Kegelshem Marmor (possibly a type of Northern Estonian limestone).

Bankas operāciju zāle

The photocopy is taken from the materials of the Mortgage Bank of Latvia

In 1937, the wall panel idea of painter Kārlis Sūniņš (1907–1979) was realised on the first floor of the central stairway. When K. Sūniņš finished the master workshop in decorative painting of Jānis Kuga (1878–1969) at the Latvian Academy of Arts in 1934, the wall panel was his graduation paper. The artist's decorative panels are placed on both sides of the stairway and form a uniform series of six paintings (Woman Raking Hay, Sower, Fisherman, Man Clearing Woodland for Tillage, Apple Gatherers and Shepherdess). The painting has been done in tempera technique on canvas that was stuck on plaster. These paintings of Kārlis Sūniņš were restored in 1990.

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K. Valdemāra ielas 1B sienas panno