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Kaunas modernism architecture

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from 20 per person

Kaunas modernism architecture

from 20 per person

Route of the excursion: Vilnius – Kaunas.

One day excursion.

The price shown is for a group of 10 people.

The price includes: guide services.

Transport, food, accommodation and other services – for an extra charge.

Early in the morning leaving for Kaunas, which became provisional capital of Lithuania during interwar period, nowadays famous for interwar modernism architecture. Tour of the city by bus, visiting numerous objects of interwar modernism architecture (public, cultural, sacral, industrial ones).

A visit to National M. K. Čiurlionis Museum of Art. Free time for lunch. After lunch continuation of acquaintance with Kaunas interwar modernism architecture. A tour along Laisvės avenue, Putvinskio, K. Donelaičio, S. Daukanto and Mickevičiaus streets, a visit to Karininkų ramovė (Garrison Officers’ Club Building). Going home towards nightfall.

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Kaunas modernism architecture

Kaunas is famous for its unique interwar modernism architecture, recognized on the world level: in 2015, it was given a Europe heritage sign; the city was included in the list of UNESCO design cities. To date it is an exceptional heritage witnessing the period, when Kaunas was a provisional capital of Lithuania and its architecture matched the European modernistic architecture. The architectural phenomenon typical of Kaunas is harmonization of modernism with stylistic elements of folk and national tradition. The status of provisional capital resulted in exceptional development of the city. Governmental institutions, foreign embassies concentrated here. New industrial and trade enterprises, monopolies were established. The biggest banks of Lithuania functioned in Kaunas. Cultural life gained impetus as well. Lithuanian and architects of other nationalities having returned from studies abroad with new ideas made great impact upon the flourishment of modernism architecture. Neo-Classicism (historical style) dominated the architecture of public buildings in the 3rd decade, however, new tendencies appeared with the Art Deco style spreading worldwide since 1925. At the turn of the decade changes took place towards rationalism, form simplification. The 4th decade in Kaunas witnessed manifestation of modernism encompassing various avant-garde trends frequently associated with the development of abstract forms. Lithuanian modernism was rather modest and conservative.

Kaunas modernism architecture is a group of architectural objects built in the interwar period from 1919 to 1940 in Kaunas. Common architectural stylistic features are typical of them, reflecting modernism style popular at the time in Europe. The buildings best representing the style are Karininkų ramovė (Garrison Officers’ Club Building), Central Post Office, the Church of Christ’s Resurrection, Vytautas the Great War Museum and others. In total, 12 thousand new buildings were constructed in Kaunas during this period.

Central Post Office Building. It was designed by F. Vizbaras in 1930-1932. This building is one of the most important representative structures between the two world wars, the then communications centre. It is a very important symbol of folk style modernistic architecture. The interior ceramic tiles floor displays folk textiles pattern. The five-story building had two lifts, a spacious operational hall, and employees had even showers then. The halls are decorated by heraldic stained glass with coat-of-arms of Vilnius, Klaipėda and Grodno as well as figure compositions (artist K. Šimonis). In 1935, an electric clock was installed in the main facade of the building becoming the symbol of the city. During interwar period, the Central Post Office was called a skyscraper.

Kaunas city municipality. In 1938-1940 the savings bank building was constructed according to the design of engineer A. Funkas now housing the city municipality. The building is laconic, devoid of intricate decorations: vertical window and interfenestration bands dominate. The central façade is six floors, and lateral ones are five floors high.

Former Pieno centras building. It is an impressive interwar period structure. V. Landsbergis-Žemkalnis designed the building in 1931-1932. The design was awarded a bronze medal and honorary diploma at an international exhibition in Paris in 1937. During the interwar period, the first floor served for commercial purposes: Pieno centras shop and milk bar functioned there.

Vytautas the Great War Museum. Architects V. Dubeneckis, K. Reisonas, and K. Kriščiukaitis designed the building, which is considered a masterpiece of interwar modernism architecture. Their task was to join the then museums of Culture and War into one. It is a monument to one of the greatest rulers of medieval Lithuania. The main aim of the museum was to immortalize Lithuania’s fights for independence. Harmonious interaction of modernism and tradition manifests in the architecture. A memorial square is next to the museum, a garden with monuments to famous public figures and events of the Independence period.

National M. K. Čiurlionis Museum of Art. The new building for the museum was designed in 1930 (authors V. Dubeneckis, K. Reisonas, K. Kriščiukaitis). It is the only place, where almost all creative heritage of the famous Lithuanian artist and composer M. K. Čiurlionis is collected. The gallery displays paintings and graphics by M. K. Čiurlionis. In the music hall, one can listen to recordings of music by M. K. Čiurlionis. Various cultural events such as concerts, book presentations, educational programs are organized in it. National M. K. Čiurlionis Museum of Art looking at it from a distance reminds a crown, a symbol of Vytautas the Great crown; a frequent symbol in the paintings by M. K. Čiurlionis is also a crown.

Karininkų ramovė (Garrison Officers’ Club Building). This building is one of the most prominent structures of the late interwar period in Lithuania containing folk style decorations and patriotic symbols. The building was constructed in 1940 using local materials; it served public needs and state representation. The coat-of-arms of three cities are above the entrance door: Taurus with a cross of Kaunas, St Christopher of Vilnius and castle towers of Klaipėda. The first floor serves for representation: the Great hall, Knights’ hall, Vytautas the Great hall as well as the president’s room. The architecture and decorations of the Garrison Officers’ Club Building show the exceptional social status of officers in Lithuania between two world wars. Architects of the building were S. Kudokas, K. Kriščiukaitis, J. Kova-Kovalskis, engineer A. Rozenbliumas.

Christ’s Resurrection Church (Žemaičių str. 31). It was built in 1932-1940 according to the design of K. Reisonas. It is the most important example of interwar sacral architecture in Lithuania, the symbol of nation’s resurrection and independence. In the soviet era, in 1952, it was transformed into radio manufacturing plant. In 1990, it was given back to the people. The church is of basilican plan, consisting of three naves. Architecture is monumental, laconic. The tower is 70m high. It is possible to get to the roof and admire the panorama of the city from observation platform. The church was granted the status of the small basilica in 2015.

Žaliakalnis funicular (Aušros str./V. Putvinskio str.). At the beginning of the 20th century, Kaunas underwent a rapid modernization stage. A lot of attention was dedicated to improve the city infrastructure: water supply, sewage, transport. For installation of Žaliakalnis funicular German specialists were consulted, Leipzig engineering company Curt Rudolph Transportanlagen prepared the project and made the funicular, AEG company supplied the electric installation, Swiss company T.Bell sold the running gears. At present, the huts running uphill are used as means both of communication and of entertainment.

Modernism style formed in Kaunas including concrete projects quite frequently was transferred to other towns of Lithuania. Such examples could be found in Jonava, Šiauliai, Klaipėda, Birštonas, Pasvalys and elsewhere.