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Adam Khan and FCBS crowned joint-winners in Kaunas concert hall contest

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Adam Khan Architects and Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios are among three teams named joint-winners in an international contest to design a £26.4 million concert hall in Kaunas, Lithuania

The two teams – along with Vilnius-based UAB Paleko Archstudija and UAB Baltic Engineers – will now receive £22,000 each and enter the final stage of negotiations for the landmark Kaunas City Municipality-backed commission.

The anonymous single-stage competition – organised by Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC) – sought a conceptual design for the new 11,750m² landmark complex within Lithuania’s second-largest city, which was recently named European Capital of Culture 2022.

The three winners were chosen from more than 110 submissions. 

The MK Čiurlionis Concert Centre, named after Lithuanian painter, composer and writer Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis, will occupy a landmark site overlooking the city’s historic old and new towns. A waterfront park and multifunctional spaces for public and community events will also be included alongside the 1,500-capacity concert hall.

City councillor and contest judge Jonas Audejaitis said: ’This is a complex brief that tested the competitors – and proved a strenuous but fascinating experience for jurors. 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 is home to many academic institutions and emerging businesses. The settlement was recently named a UNESCO global creative city and will become European Capital of Culture in 2022. The competition announcement was launched eight months after SimpsonHaugh and Partners was named one of three finalists in an earlier MRC competition for a £21 million national science and innovation centre on nearby Nemunas Island.

The concert hall site is on the south bank of the River Nemunas, overlooking the city’s Old Town, featuring many Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque buildings, and its New Town, which hosts several Modernist icons from the country’s brief interwar period of independence.

As well as the main concert hall, the scheme will feature a secondary hall, conferencing facilities and a restaurant, café and bar. Offices, back-of-house facilities and an underground car park will also be delivered along with a new waterfront public park. The scheme is planned to complete in 2022.

Judges include Kaunas City Council member and Vilnius Academy of Arts, Kaunas faculty dean Jonas Audėjaitis; Ingela Larsson, partner at Henning Larsen Architects; Kaunas vice mayor Povilas Mačiulis; and DRDH Architects co-director Daniel Rosbottom.

The three winning teams will receive around £22,000 each and be invited into a negotiated procedure with the client to select an overall recipient of the design commission.

Competition site taken from above Aleksotas looking towards Old and New Towns

Competition site taken from above Aleksotas looking towards Old and New Towns

Source: Image by Kaunas City Municipality

Competition site taken from above Aleksotas looking towards Old and New Towns


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