On September 28th, three finalists were announced in the open anonymous design contest for the new circa €30m Kaunas M.K. Čiurlionis Concert Centre. The competition was organised by Malcolm Reading Consultants. The regenerative project for the European Capital of Culture 2022 will foreground the River Nemunas and revitalise a central area close to the historic Old Town.
Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (United Kingdom) and Adam Khan Architects (United Kingdom) took the 2nd and the 3rd place, accordingly, and the 1st place was awarded to the Vilnius-based Paleko Archstudija, led by a Lithuanian starchitect Rolandas Palekas, winner of Lithuanian National Prize for Culture and Arts (2014).
As the brief to competitors explained, this new building on a riverside site with memorable panoramas to the Old and New Towns should also provide multi-functional spaces for conferences, congresses and symposia. Given Kaunas’ exceptional architectural heritage – the city is en route to becoming a UNESCO Site for Modernist Architecture – the architectural quality and contribution to the cityscape were the essential criteria used to judge the finalist designs.
“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”, said Jonas Audėjaitis, Kaunas Faculty Dean, Vilnius Academy of Arts, Member of Kaunas City Council and competition juror.
Malcolm Reading, Competition Director and Jury Chair, said: “We congratulate the three finalists for the way in which they connected with the project’s namesake – they each honoured Čiurlionis distinctively by reinterpreting, representing and evoking his aesthetic”.
The Municipality’s intention is that the three finalists will now undergo a Negotiated Procedure without Publication of a Contract Notice with Kaunas City Municipality who will select one architect or team to take the concept through to completion on site. Kaunas City Municipality intends the Concert Centre to open by 2022, Kaunas’ year as European Capital of Culture.