Continuing to grow and create a modern Latvia, the Academic Centre of the University of Latvia (UL) in Torņakalns continues its development and on August 25, the foundation stone was laid for the House of Letters, next to the House of Nature and the House of Science. Already next year, it will open its doors to students and academic staff - the eight floors of the building will house several institutes, the UL library, the Business Incubator, six faculties, the UL Culture Centre and amateur art collectives, it will be the largest of the Academic Centre buildings - 26,000 m2.

UL is investing approximately 49 million euros, including VAT, in the construction and furnishing of the House of Letters. Of these, 30 million have been raised from the European Investment Bank, 11.5 million from the Council of Europe Development Bank and 7.4 million are university contributions.

Professor Indriķis Muižnieks, Rector of the University of Latvia: "Today we are laying the foundation stone for another Palace of Light, this house is proof that humanities and social sciences are also important in Latvia. The House of Letters is not just a building, it is proof that this industry is also appreciated, as the biggest investment since the restoration of the independence of the Republic of Latvia has been made. UL was created to create excellence - a step closer to growth".

On behalf of the UL eco-council, the UL Student Council placed a customized sustainability pictogram created with a 3D printer in the capsule as a promise to future generations to solve the global climate crisis and related economic, social and environmental challenges.

Minister of Finance Jānis Reirs: "Science, education and research are critically important for the development of Latvia's human capital and the growth of the national economy in the country, therefore the investments of international financial institutions in these sectors play an important role. The financing of the European Investment Bank and the Council of Europe Development Bank for the modernization of the Academic Centre of the University of Latvia will help promote the development of science and research in Latvia, providing an innovative environment for students and researchers and promoting the country's international competitiveness. The new UL House of Letters will help mark Latvia on the European map in the field of humanities and social sciences research. Thanks to the successful cooperation of the University of Latvia, the Ministry of Finance and international financial institutions over several years, it has been possible to develop the modernization project of the UL Academic Centre, which will provide an invaluable contribution to society and the university, and is also interesting for financiers. It is also important that the new UL House of Letters will be accessible to people with disabilities, which until now was problematic in the old buildings of several faculties. In addition, by combining six faculties and several institutions under one roof, administrative and maintenance expenses will be reduced."

"It is very important that materials and technologies, which will ensure the sustainability of the building, efficient management and help the UL move towards a "green university" are used in the construction process of the House of Letters. This means that we will be able to be proud not only of high quality and inclusive but also of an environmentally friendly educational process. And it is no secret that caring for the environment and sustainability are extremely important aspects for young people," emphasized Minister of Education and Science Anita Muižniece.

The solemn event, when the foundation for the new humanities and social sciences building was laid in the Academic Centre of the UL, was attended by the Head of the European Commission Representation in Latvia Zane Petre; President of the Latvian Academy of Sciences, Professor Ivars Kalviņš; Senior Public Sector Banker at the European Investment Bank Marina Ismaila; Council of Europe Development Bank Baltic countries project manager Diana Bertje; chairman of the board of "RERE Group” Mārīte Straume; the future "owners" of the House of Letters - representatives of faculties, institutes and structural units, as well as students, cooperation partners of the UL, local residents and associations.

Video: The laying of the foundation stone of the House of Letters (LV)