Zaigas Gailes Birojs – A?anis Lipke Memorial, 2012

  Ansis Starks


Zaigas Gailes Birojs –

A?anis Lipke Memorial is a private museum that commemorates the courage and humanity of a Latvian working class family who during the Nazi regime (1941 1944) risked their lives and saved more than 50 Jews. Several hiding places were arranged by A?anis Lipke and one of them was a bunker built under the woodshed next to his family house in psala, Riga.

The ascetic windowless building of dark grey wood resembles an overturned boat resting ashore like a ferryman’s boat, that has completed its mission. It could also be Noah’s Ark that after the flood has descended back on dry land with the survivors, the new humanity that God has decided not to annihilate. Finally, the building also resembles a black shed, a building that used to be common on psala, once inhabited by fishermen: tarred, made of barge boards with their inimitable scent.

The dimmed passage through the enclosed entrance tunnel bears no suggestion of the real scale and structure of the building and it takes a while for the visitor to locate its centre. The monolith building has three levels joined together by an open shaft in the centre allowing a glimpse of the basement from the attic. The basement level contains a concrete bunker in the original dimensions with nine bunks dropping down from the wall.



Architects: Zaigas Gailes Birojs Zaiga Gaile, Ingmars Atavs, Agnese SirmA?, Ineta Solzemniece Saleniece, Zane Dzintara, Maija Putni a Gaile, DA?vis Gasuls

Location: Mazais Balasta dambis 8, psala, R ga, Latvia

Surface: Tarred wooden planks

Year: 2012/built

Structure: Wooden frame construction, plank board walls inside and out, concrete basement

Materials: Wood, concrete

Project team: MA?ris Gailis, Augusts Sukuts, Viktors Jansons (Concept authors), Kristaps A?elzis (Artist), Reinis Suhanovs, J kabs N manis (Sound), MA?ris Gailis (Project Manager)

Client/Contractor: Association A?anis Lipke Memorial

Photography: Ansis Starks


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