Death is a fundamental part of the human existence, and its impact on us has inspired some of the most important architectural achievements in human history. Marking the lives and deaths of important figures, rulers, and heroes has been the driving force behind many wonderful and influential structures, from memorials and mausoleums all the way back to the ancient pyramids in Egypt.

One such important site is the Forest Cemetery in Latvia’s capital city of Riga. Consisting of 85 hectares (210 acres) of land, the Forest Cemetery has been in use for over a century, and became a memorial cemetery for those that died fighting during World War I. The site contains many sculptural memorials and tombstones dedicated to the important and influential figures that are entombed there, including many notable Latvian politicians, military, and public figures.

Brothers’ Cemetery statues at the burial site (, 11723954235/in/photostream/ - Dainis Matisons)

The ‘Columbarium – The Chamber of Memories’ competition is a collaboration with Riga City Council in Latvia. Participants are invited to submit designs for a columbarium planned for the Forest Cemetery. They will need to design a columbarium that can house 500 niches, each of which can hold one to four urns.

In addition to this, participants are asked to create a comprehensive landscape design solution for the entire cemetery. This competition is a chance for architecture and design enthusiasts to reflect on life and death, and communicate their relationship to the concept through architecture. How can architectural design help in the grieving process? What would make it a respectable place of solace where loved ones can visit those that have passed on?

As the Riga City Council has expressed an interest in constructing the columbarium, designs should reflect the best of green architectural practices as well as considering durable and long-lasting solutions.

Download full competition brief for more information!

Competition is open to all. No professional qualification is required. Design proposals can be developed individually or by teams (4 team members maximum). Correspondence with organizers must be conducted in English; All information submitted by participants must be in English

Columbarium - 
The Chamber of Memories
Official partner
Columbarium - 
The Chamber of Memories