AJ100 practice SimpsonHaugh and Partners is one of three finalists in the international competition to design a £21 million national science and innovation centre in Kaunas, Lithuania
A proposal by the Manchester and London-based firm was selected from more than 144 entrants from 44 countries alongside concepts by Australian/Spanish outfit SMAR Architecture Studio and Chinese practice Donghua Chen Studio.
The schemes were judged anonymously and ranked on points: with SMAR coming first; SimpsonHaugh second; and Donghua Chen Studio third.
The contest, organised by Malcolm Reading Consultants, sought proposals for a 9,000m² landmark development on the city’s prominent Nemunas Island close to the Žalgiris Arena and the city’s historic old town.
The three winners will now undergo a Negotiated Procedure without Publication of a Contract Notice with Kaunas City Municipality, which will select one architect or team to take the concept through to completion. Each of the teams will receive an honorarium of €15,000.
‘The contest has been the most popular in Lithuania’s history’
The prime minister of Lithuania, Algirdas Butkevičius, said: ’The contest has been the most popular in Lithuania’s history.
‘The initiative has clearly resonated, being both universally and humanly relevant, as well as of great national importance for Lithuania. We believe that Science Island will show how science can inspire positive change for the planet and humanity.’
Malcolm Reading, competition director and jury chair, commented: ‘Each of the three winners could create a worthy addition to Kaunas, a city with a most distinguished architectural heritage and increasingly known as a key hub within the Baltics.
‘The three concept designs show originality, cultural confidence and a deep understanding of public engagement with science – that the design must “do” as well as “be”. Science Island must inspire and lead, it sets the highest bar: a building where presence and performance are perfectly matched.’
Five honourable mentions were also awarded:
• Amid.cero9 / Elsewhere (Spain)
• Mark Foster Gage Architects (USA)
• Salon (Turkey)
• UAB Architektų biuras G. Natkevičius ir partneriai (Lithuania)
• Wolfgang Tschapeller ZTGmbH (Austria)
SMAR Architecture Studio 1