Described as “both guiding light and party host”, the Night Train was designed and built by a group of 13 students from the Riga Technical University summer school.
Made entirely of locally sourced Latvian pine, the structure features a carriage that runs along a 13-metre-long track.
The project is located in the grounds of the old Cēsis Beer Brewery, a former factory that is set to be transformed into an arts and science complex.
The students worked with tutors Theodore Molloy, Thomas Randall-Page and Niklāvs Paegle on the project, completing it in just two weeks.
Intended to connect the brewery with the surrounding Castle Park, it provides a venue for parties and arts events.
“We aimed to build a piece of infrastructure to facilitate and host social events,” Randall-Page told Dezeen.”We wanted to create a structure which was super site-specific and engaged with the boundary condition between the picturesque Castle Park and the post-industrial Cesis brewery.”
“Night Train aims to provide a visual link, allowing views for brewery visitors to the park and creating curiosity about the changes afoot at the brewery from the public outside,” the architect added.
The carriage is surrounded in a fine light-defusing timber fringe, allowing the light at the centre to shine through at night.
“We wanted to use light as a key element, as it has the ability to effect and transform spaces far beyond what we can physically build in this short time,” said Randall-Page.
“At night the glowing lantern peering over into the public park attracts curiosity about what changes are going on in this derelict territory.”
Raised above the ground on stilts, the track also functions as a walkway that links the brewery grounds to the surrounding wall, with a table at the lower end and a viewing platform at the other.
Four different steps along the track signal different stages in the party. Firstly, the carriage sits above a table of welcome drinks and acts as a large table lamp.
At the second stage, a section of the roof is opened so that the light can shines on the brick chimney behind, creating a beacon for party goers.
“After some hours and as dusk gives way to night the carriage is moved along and a section of the roof is opened to illuminate the massive brick chimney,” added Randall-Page. “This towering structure now acts as a beacon and the lantern encourages guests up to explore the walkway.”
“It is well known that the real party always takes place on the stairs or in the corridor and this narrow structure provides a great venue for interaction.”
The carriage then moves to a position over a larger clear area beneath. The fringe parts to create a DJ area and the light from the opening illuminates a dance floor below.
After the last track is played, the carriage moves to its terminus, which cantilevers out over the boundary wall and floods light into the Castle Park.
Riga Technical University hosts a design-and-build workshop every summer to encourage students to look at community issues.
Previously, students from the summer school have created a library tower where passers-by could drop off and exchange unwanted books and a 4.5-metre-high stilted cabin with sides that lift open to offer inhabitants an uninterrupted view of the Latvian landscape.
Photography is by Kaspars Kursišs unless stated otherwise.
Tutors: Niklāvs Paegle, Theodore Molloy, Thomas Randall–Page
Students: Craig Ross, Hilly Murrell, Jennifer Aitken, Jonah Maxted, Konrad Weka, Luīze Rukšāne, Mirela Purim, Ruby Sleigh, Signe Pelne, Tara Bewley, Vineeta Mudunuri and Yulia Ratushnyak
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