Since it’s official opening in 2014, the building of the National Library of Latvia, also known as the “Castle of Light” has become a landmark of the city Riga. The pyramidal structure, which rises 68 meters above the Daugava riverbank opposite the historic city center, is among Latvia’s greatest architectural projects of the 21st century and one of the largest cultural buildings in Northern Europe.
The Castle of Light is a modern and creative information and culture center. It provides collections, services and premises for education, research, self-development and leisure purposes and is equipped with state-of-the-art technology.
The first sketch of the building was drawn in 1989 by the renowned Latvian-American architect Gunnar Birkerts. Birkerts’s design is based on the idea of a crystal mountain, which in Latvian folklore symbolizes the height of achievement and the commitment required to attain it.
Although at first sight there are no flat surfaces on the Castle of Light’s roof, appearances can be deceiving. There are actually 12 balconies hidden in this impressive structure of concrete, steel and glass. These balconies act as gutters, capturing and crushing the ice that slides down from the roof during the winter months. About 2,500 m² of Firestone’s RubberGard EPDM roofing membrane were used to waterproof these gutters. Local Firestone partner EPDM SISTEMOS carried out the installation, fully adhering the membrane to the concrete structure. Special attention was paid to the detailing around the ice-crushing devices.