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2016 | 19 | 22-31

Article title

Rīgas pilsētas elektrības iestādes ēku būvvēsture un arhitektūra 20. gs. sākumā

Title variants

Construction History and Architecture of Riga’s Power Utilities in the Early 20th Century

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Generation of electric power increased rapidly in the late 19th century. Riga introduced these new technologies very early: the first electric bulbs were switched on here as early as 1876. In the 1890s, more than twenty small private power stations operated in Riga. The first small power station funded by Riga’s municipal government was constructed next to the Riga City Theatre and canal in 1887. In the early 20th century, the local authority monopolised this field and created the first centralised power supply system. This article explores the construction history and architecture of Riga’s power utilities, including the small architectural forms that emerged in Riga’s urban environment along with the building of the main electric power plant. Engineer Oskar Miller (1855–1934) from Munich, founding father of the German electrical power industry and co-founder of the international concern Allgemeine Elektrazitäts-Gesellshaft (AEG), had become renowned in the sphere of urban electrification. When the municipality approved the introduction of a centralised electric supply system in late 1901, Miller was entrusted with designing the power station. Early on the location of the power station was allocated at Andrejosta, an industrial territory quite close to the city centre as well as next to the railway and waterway. Miller devised the power station project in 1902. Architect Karl Felsko (1844–1918) worked out the project’s details, endowing the overall image of the power station complex with architectonic expressiveness. Construction supervised by Felsko began in 1903 and the object was put into operation on 1 May 1905. Along with the electrical grid, substations were also installed: in 1905 there were 57 transformer points in Riga but in 1914 their number had risen to 306. Such small transformer points in Riga’s urban space had iron containers or kiosks set up in the early 20th century, larger structures were enclosed in purpose-built stone constructions.


  • Megaphone Publishers Ltd, 11 Torņa Street, Riga LV-1050, Latvia


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