Music school and concert hall “Latvija”, Ventspils, Latvia

Good architecture underpinned by a clever energy concept

Ventspils University of Music relies on hybrid ventilation solution

Project Music school and concert hall “Latvija”
Year 2019
Country Latvia
Construction time 2 years

The city of Ventspils placed high demands not only on the aesthetics and functionality, but also on the energy efficiency of the new music school.

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Music school and concert hall “Latvija”, Ventspils, Latvia

The SUDIO2050 designed by haas cook Zemrich The new “Latvija” music school and concert hall, which opened in 2019 after two years of construction, is not only a visual and urban landmark in the Latvian city of Ventspils. The music school has a gross floor area of around 8,000 m² and includes practice rooms of various sizes, a foyer, a small theater hall, a music library and a concert hall. The 600-seat concert hall was acoustically optimized by Müller BBM (Munich). A special feature is that glass surfaces in the roof provide the interior concert hall with daylight, allowing music rehearsals without artificial lighting, for example. These skylights can be completely darkened for concerts.

Energy efficiency

The city of Ventspils placed high demands not only on the aesthetics and functionality, but also on the energy efficiency of the new music school. The building envelope is thermally insulating and meets the German passive house standard. Among other things, triple glazing contributes to this; all windows offer shading options. The large glass fronts of the foyer can be darkened using internal roller blinds, while the rooms on the façade side have slats that are fitted in front of the triple glazing and protected from the wind by a fourth pane of glass.

A key pillar of energy efficiency is the ventilation, heating and cooling concept developed by Transsolar KlimaEngineering in close cooperation with the architect David Cook. Heating or cooling is provided by a geothermal system with reversible electric heat pumps. The city’s local heating network only supplies energy during peak winter demand. A combination of natural ventilation, central ventilation and demand-oriented façade ventilation/decentralized ventilation was used to exploit the energy-saving potential of the ventilation system.

Where possible, natural ventilation is used. To circulate the air in the core areas, fresh air enters a network of five concrete pipes (underground ducts) located under the building. Before entering the building, the air in the pipes is cooled by the ground in summer and heated in winter. The filtered and, if necessary, re-tempered fresh air then flows into the building and benefits the foyer, halls and corridor areas.

Central ventilation for hall and foyer

Mechanical ventilation is used instead of natural ventilation if this is necessary due to a higher air requirement, for example at a public event or if natural ventilation is not practical in the practice rooms on the façade side. The interior rooms such as the halls, the foyer or the instrument store are then served by a central ventilation system that makes up to 85% of the heat contained in the exhaust air available for the supply air.

Individual, decentralized ventilation

For the rooms on the façade side, including the acoustically sensitive practice rooms, the city of Ventspils opted for decentralized façade ventilation units from LTG on the recommendation of Transsolar. They offer several advantages over central ventilation. The most important factor in this case was the avoidance of cross-talk noise, as the ventilation ducts would have allowed noise from the ventilation technology itself to enter the rooms as well as noise from neighboring rooms or corridors.

Another advantage of decentralized ventilation is that each room can be ventilated individually and as required, either naturally or mechanically. The façade ventilation units provide the exact amount of air required for the room in question. The room temperature can also be set within a predefined range for each exercise room.

“Breathing” like natural ventilation

The approx. 80
In contrast to conventional façade ventilation units, these devices only require a façade opening that can be easily integrated into the façade design. Cyclical inhalation and exhalation also offers advantages from an energy point of view, as a larger, shared duct can be used in the appliance instead of two separate air ducts for supply and exhaust air. This minimizes internal pressure losses. In addition, an efficient heat recovery system with an efficiency of almost 90 % is used.

The transient operating mode has another advantage: it produces a highly inductive, pulsating room flow and consequently good mixing of the supply air with the room air. This quickly reduces temperature differences without causing draughts. Alternatively, the units can be operated unidirectionally, e.g. to channel a lot of cool night air through the rooms on summer nights and reduce the need for air conditioning cooling.

Naturally, when designing the various practice rooms, attention was also paid to good acoustics and the avoidance of disturbing noises. The façade ventilation units were therefore measured in the laboratory before installation and the results were approved by Müller BBM. To prevent structure-borne noise from being transmitted from the appliances to the floor, the planners provided a small gap between the appliance cover and the floor.

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