As LNMM director Māra Lāce told onlookers, the celebration is meant to “say thanks to those who’ve worked so far and to gather strength for finishing the job all the way.”
She predicted the LNMM could open to the public by March 2016, but reminded everyone that “the paintings will not hang by themselves on the walls, there will still be lots of work involved,” even when the building is complete.
Culture Minister Dace Melbārde also expressed pleasure at the works completed so far, saying this was a “moment of great anticipation, to see how the building is taking shape as a whole.”
“The ministry needs to start thinking intensively about how it’s going to ‘occupy’ the building with content,” she added.
Riga mayor Nils Ušakovs on his part hailed the LNMM renewal project as a “superb example of successful cooperation between the local government, state government and the European Union,” a model that should be held up for future projects.
A ceremonial wreath was raised by crane to the recently-completed roof of the building where LTV morning news program Panorama got a first-hand view of the job done so far.
The reconstruction, restoration and new construction works at the LNMM were commissioned by the Riga City Council’s Property Department from Lithuanian architecture firm “Processoffice”, while the works are being conducted by developer Re&Re.
More than €35m are slated for investment into the project, €22m of which come from the Riga City Council, €13.1 from EU co-financing, while the state government has granted €346,000.
The project has already been delayed at least a half-year beyond its original target for completion by summer of 2015.
The main LNMM building is an official state architectural monument, having served 107 years since its opening on September 16, 1905.