RIGA CHIEF ARCHITECT JOHANN DANIEL FELSKO AND THE PINKI ST. NICHOLAS'S CHURCH (Rigas pilsetas buvmeistars Johans Daniels Felsko un Pinku Sveta Nikolaja baznica)
The old, deteriorated wooden churches were replaced with new stone buildings in the Riga Patrimonial District during the 19th century. Churches at the Pinki estate (Pinkenhof) that belonged to the Riga city were designed by the Riga chief architect and builder Johann Daniel Felsko (1813-1902). In 1856, Felsko designed the project of the St. Nicholas's Church in the so-called semi-circular arch style (Rundbogenstif). It was a hall church with a nave, two aisles, a polygonal apse and a Western tower. The complicated arrangement of premises at the Eastern side of the church coincides with designs of the Danish Neo-Classicist Christian Frederik Hansen (1756-1845), Felsko's instructor at the Copenhagen Royal Academy of Art. In 1862 the Cash Board of the Riga City Council examined the second, Neo-Gothic project of the St. Nicholas's. Considering the previous objections, the architect had prepared a design with a simple planning and ascetic, early Gothic decoration. If the project was accepted in general, except some small comments on decoration, financial and technical problems were just coming to the fore. In 1864 the parish members wrote to the City Council that it is impossible to build the church with their own powers. The State Inspectorate for Heritage Protection of Latvia keeps the third variant (photocopy) of the St. Nicholas's project. Dated by the year 1871, this one was used for building of the church. The architect had especially elaborated on the composition of tower and the arrangement of decorative elements. The foundation stone of the Pinki St. Nicholas's Church was laid on May 25, 1872, and the consecration took place two years later, on June 16, 1874. It is a hall church with a Western tower and a polygonal apse with symmetrical extensions. Rubble was used as the main building material but decorative elements are made in red brick. The church interior has retained most of Felsko's ideas from the first project - rood-screen (Lettner), direct ascent from the priest's dressing room to the pulpit and elevation in the covering of the central part of the nave.
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