Finalists announced in design competition for 'world class' Lithuania concert centre

A shortlist of three architecture firms are in the running to design a major international cultural centre in Kaunas, Lithuania, having reached the final in the design competition for the project.

Adam Khan Architects, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and a pairing of UAB Paleko Archstudija and UAB Baltic Engineers will now enter negotiations with the city government, who will select a final partner to oversee the “emblematic new building”.

The Kaunas M.K. Ciurlionis Concert Centre International Design Contest has been commissioned to revitalise an underdeveloped area of Kaunas close to the historic Old Town.

Gifted with a prominent site on the south bank of the River Nemunas, the 11,750sq m (126,400sq ft) space will comprise a “world-class” 1,500-seat concert hall; a smaller, secondary hall; conferencing facilities; a restaurant, café and bar; back-of-house and office spaces; and underground parking.

The building, sat within a public park, must be able to host substantial public events, and provide a space for Kaunas’ growing business and academic communities to meet.

The competition, judged anonymously, received 117 submissions from teams in 36 countries.

As Kaunas is en route to becoming a Unesco Site for Modernist Architecture and will be Capital of Culture in 2022, the architectural quality and contribution to the cityscape were the essential criteria used to judge the finalist designs.

“This is a complex brief that tested the competitors – and proved a strenuous but fascinating experience for jurors,” said Jonas Audejaitis, a member of the city council and a member of the jury. “We sat till late in the evening scrutinising and debating a diverse range of schemes.

“Ultimately, the finalists won us over with their understanding of the scale of the city, with sensibly planned and coherent strategies, and with an iconography that resonated particularly with Kaunas. Of course these are early concept designs and the final scheme chosen by the city will develop further.

“Kaunas is experiencing rapid change as it seeks to fulfil its potential in the 21st century. We want the Concert Centre to be an exemplary civic building that enriches Kaunas’ cultural life but also re-shapes the city – moving its epicentre closer to the river.”

Kaunas City Municipality intends the centre to open by 2022. It will bear the name of Lithuanian polymath Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis – a painter, composer and writer who had a profound influence on modern Lithuanian and European culture.

A closer look

Who are the three finalists?

UAB Paleko Archstudija are an architectural studio based in Vilnius, Lithuania, and led by principal Rolandas Palekas.

Significant projects include the National Open Access Scholarly Communication Centre at Vilnius University Library (2012) and a 2015 housing project, also in Vilnius.

They are working with UAB Baltic Engineers, a team of professional engineers based in Vilnius with both local and international experience, that provides high quality services in the areas of territory planning, designing, project management and engineering consultancy.

Key forthcoming projects include a new creative industries and technologies park, the Vilnius Technology and Art Centre.

Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios employ 200 staff and has nearly four decades’ experience of cultural projects. London-based, they won the Stirling Prize in 2008 for the Accordia residential development in Cambridge.

The team is currently working on upgrades to the Southbank Centre in London, including refurbishment of the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Hayward Gallery and the Purcell Room

Adam Khan Architects were founded in 2006 and are based in London. Awards include RIBA Awards in 2010, 2012 and 2014, the Civic Trust Awards ‘Special Award for Sustainability’, and ‘Architect of the Year’ for public buildings in 2012.

Completed projects include housing developments and private residential dwellings, a gallery at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, a visitor centre for the Brockholes Wetland Nature Reserve near Preston, and the New Horizon youth centre in King’s Cross, London.

Lithuania  Kaunas  architecture  design  Malcolm Reading  Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios  Adam Khan Architects  UAB Paleko Archstudija 
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A shortlist of three architecture firms are in the running to design a major international cultural centre in Kaunas, Lithuania, having reached the final in the design competition for the project. Adam Khan Architects, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and a pairing of UAB Paleko Archstudija and UAB Baltic Engineers will now enter negotiations with the city government, who will select a final partner to oversee the “emblematic new building”. The
CLD,AAC,ARC,DES
Adam Khan Architects' design submission / Malcolm Reading Consultants/Adam Khan Architects
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