Architect: occupation museum plan is flawed

In talks, the government admits that the project for rebuilding the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia is not useful, but it's hard to change something, said architect Zaiga Gaile in an interview to Latvian Television on Thursday. 

Zaiga Gaile said that she and her associates want to achieve that the Occupation Museum - the black sarcophagus - is reconstructed, but the rest of the money - the 7.4 mln euros allotted to adding and adjunct white monolith to the museum - would be invested in the Corner House museum. 

"I talked with the PM and others, and everyone agrees - if there are numerous empty buildings in Riga, there is no need to extend the museum. The Corner House [home of a museum showing KGB activity] could be used as it's developing. State officials support this stance. I think that the biggest problem is not lack of state support but rather a bureaucratic pyramid," said Gaile. 

She said that the museum is Latvia's history: "The black sarcophagus of modernism, built in the 70s, is an immensely valuable monument. Let's not destroy our past. The extension has no use," said the architect.

Previously, Gaile had started gathering signatures for stopping the extension project on the mugurkauls.lv website (mugurkauls meaning 'spine' - stressing that along with historical monuments like the Freedom Monument and the Victory Memorial, the Occupation Museum makes up the spine of Latvia's past).

The Riga City Construction Board announced that the public discussion of the project had already happened back in 2009. 

The Museum of the Occupation of Latvia, built in 1971 to mark the 100th birthday of Lenin, is one of the most memorable historical buildings in Riga. The black monolith structure discourages taking it lightly, as does the past it represents.

The museum has seen 25 years of independent Latvia, but renovation efforts have been limited.

Some prefer the museum to remain as it is, while plans are in motion to add a white 'Future home' section to the building. In the recent months, clashes between supporters of the two options have escalated.

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