The Omuli Primary School first opened its doors on October 8th, 1936. Located in the small village of Omuli in Northern Latvia, near the Estonian border, the school was commissioned by then-president K. Ulmanis. Throughout the decades the number of students who attended slowly dwindled, with older students being transferred to other nearby schools.

After 85 years, it is planning to transform the structure and its surrounding property into a multi-purpose complex with the primary attraction being a museum for horses. The museum will inform visitors about the nature and history of local horse breeds as well as offering hands-on workshops such as making your horseshoe and other small crafts.

The Latvian breed was developed in Latvia from the beginning of the 20th century up to 1952 by crossing the native horses with west European harness and harness-saddle breeds. Latvian horses are elegant and warm; thus, they are more suitable for equestrian instead of horse racing. Eventing is an equestrian event where a single horse and rider combine and compete against other competitors across the three disciplines of dressage, cross-country, and show jumping.

“An equestrian event in Omuli Museum”

Museum 1F Layout Plan

For the artists, the workshop areas and the kitchen are located on the first floor due to the convenience. And floor the museum visitors, there are the displays and the paintings about the horse which can catch their eyes. In addition, the visitors can buy some presents in the souvenir area.

There are two studios in the whole museum. Studio A can be divided into three parts by using movable partitions. And Studio B is a very large workshop area for the artists and the museum visitors. 

Museum 2F Layout Plan

On the second floor, there are the artists’ bedrooms and their communication area. However, the museum visitors are also welcomed to discuss with the artists and get some rest on the second floor. It will be a relaxing and chill place. 

Museum Circulation Diagram
Omuli Museum

About the architecture of the Omuli Museum, it is trying to preserve the form and shape. However, three areas have been revised to make the museum modern and the elements in equestrian are trying to adapt into the design. First of all, the dark concrete strip becomes the architectural appearance. The original design of the Omuli School is simple and old; Therefore, some modern elements like strips will appear. Secondly, a glass bridge is constructed on the second floor. It will become a feature point outside the museum. Lastly, due to sustainability, the solar panels will be installed on the roof of the whole museum.

Museum Entrance

Show Jumping and Cross Country

Show jumping and cross country are a part of the equestrian and it is including verticals, spreads, and double and triple combinations, usually with many turns and changes of direction. Therefore, in this museum, the traditional square layout or one-direction circulation will be changed to a curve and open flow just like the visitors are joining in the show jumping and cross country event. There are two main entrances in the museum. One is for the visitors and the other one is for the artists. Thus, the circulation can be smoother and it should not be overlapped. Besides that, one of the original staircases is replaced by a lift to arrive the second floor more easily. 

WOW Area


Dressage as an equestrian sport defined by the International Equestrian Federation is described as “the highest expression of horse training” where “horse and rider are expected to perform from memory a series of predetermined movements. Dressage is the most peaceful and elegant part of the equestrian therefore the interior in the museum can be simple but WOW. Venice painting and metal are the main materials in the museum. The painting represents the horse skin and the metal means the horseshoe. And the WOW area in the middle of the museum, tiles with pattern is used and the lighting feature installed to make the WOW effect.

Museum 1F Interior
Artists Workshop
Museum 2F Interior

The four art photos are taken by the famous photographer Steven Klein. 


Year : 2021
Type : Competition
Client : Omuli Museum
Location : Latvia
Area : 900 sq.m.
Status : Concept
Awards : –

Partner in Charge : Gavin Leung
Fellow in Charge :
Project Leader :
Design Team :

Images : Bagua+Bhava
Visualisations : Bagua+Bhava & Essanze Visual

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