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Winning design chosen for Lithuania's 'inspiring and emblematic' Science Island

SMAR Architecture Studio have won the international design competition to create a Science Island attraction in Kaunas, Lithuania.

The practice, with offices in Australia and Spain, were selected ahead of SimpsonHaugh and Donghua Chen Studio for the prestigious €25m (US$30.6m, £21.8m) project, which will be officially known as the National Science and Innovation Centre.

Expected to open a year in advance of Kaunas’ tenure as European Capital of Culture 2022, the building will be located within a 33-hectare site on Nemunas Island in the Nemunas River – a short walk from Kaunas’ historic Central district.

According to a City spokesperson, “Science Island is an emblematic project for Kaunas that will showcase recent achievements in science and global technologies, with the aim of inspiring visitors to expand their knowledge and support innovation in these fields.”

SMAR founder and creative director Fernando Jerez said his team have sought to create “an invigorating experience, drawing new audiences” to Kaunas.

“Our proposal follows the island’s topography to find a deep connection with nature and with the city,” he explained. “On the roof, circular access points will work as public stages and natural seating areas, our aim being that the museum spills into the landscape and the park comes into the building.

“The existing landscape gives shape to the Innovation Centre, which is topped by a sloping and reflecting upper disk: a landmark for the city. This will be a new sun for Kaunas, a bright, shining sun – evidence that Science is always awake searching for new answers.”

SMAR will collaborate with the Lithuanian practice, UAB Architekt? on the project. The partnership was selected by the City of Kaunas following the design contest and then a negotiation period held between officials and the three shortlisted firms.

In total, 144 teams from 44 countries entered the process – making this the most popular design competition ever held in Lithuania.

Competition director and jury chair Malcolm Reading said: “Congratulations to SMAR on winning the project: they were brilliantly adventurous in their concept design and patient in seeing the negotiations through. This was a competition that drew an exceptional global following, which was a huge credit to Kaunas.

“Science Island has the ingredients to be a major international success: a well-conceived project, a very committed client and an outstanding design team.”

SMAR will now complete the detailed design by February 2019.

SMAR Architecture Studio  Science Island  Kaunas  Lithuania  National Science and Innovation Centre  Malcolm Reading 
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Architecture competition launched for Lithuania's €25m 'Science Island'

SMAR Architecture Studio have won the international design competition to create a Science Island attraction in Kaunas, Lithuania. The practice, with offices in Australia and Spain, were selected ahead of SimpsonHaugh and Donghua Chen Studio for the prestigious €25m (US$30.6m, £21.8m) project, which will be officially known as the National Science and Innovation Centre. Expected to open a year in advance of Kaunas’ tenure as European Capital of Culture 2022,
CLD,VAT,AAC,ARC,DES
SMAR founder and creative director Fernando Jerez said his team have sought to create 'an invigorating experience, drawing new audiences' to Kaunas / SMAR Architecture Studio
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