Because Kaunas was snowballing between WW1 and WW2, it is one of the very few cities in Europe with such a dense modernist architecture network. Some of the city’s most beautiful buildings were awarded the European Heritage Label in 2015, and the whole urban fabric was added included in UNESCO's World Heritage Tentative List in 2017.
More and more travellers choose Kaunas specifically because of its modernist heritage. While you can appreciate and examine all of the buildings from the outside, it’s not possible to get into many of them. A lot of interwar modernist architecture examples are private houses, some are offices not open for public use. Therefore, we’ve decided to put together a list of flats with modernist and art deco interiors you can actually visit! Most of them are departments of museums and are open at usual hours; we noted the ones you should contact before visiting.
For more authentic modernist and art deco interiors in Kaunas, we suggest you check out Ekskursas, a project dedicated for themed architecture excursions. Visiting private homes is their newest thing! Moreover, we have published a Kaunastic modernist architecture map that you can get while in Kaunas or check out online by clicking this link.
Liudas Truikys And Marijona Rakauskaitė Memorial Museum
E. Fryko g. 14 / www.ciurlionis.lt
Located in a short and narrow yet architecturally impressive street in Žaliakalnis, the bohemian home of the scenographer and the soprano singer was once the hotspot of the Lithuanian art elite. The dedicated museum staff will tell you all about it and the fascinating interior of the apartment that remains pretty much as it was when this couple lived in it. Oh, the carpets… Please contact the museum before visiting.
Adelė And Paulius Galaunės House
Vydūno al. 2 / www.ciurlionis.lt
The house of Galaunės – the head of the Čiurlionis museum and his first wife, a singer – was the place to be for the Kaunas elite back in the swinging interwar period. A bonus to the building itself is a permanent exhibition of art deco furniture.
Juozas Zikaras Memorial Museum
J. Zikaro g. 3 / www.ciurlionis.lt
The sculptor of the Freedom statue and a pioneer of professional sculpture in Lithuania built himself a home right next to the Kaunas Art School where he taught. This house on Zikaras street is today a cosy little museum inseparable from the kaunastic vibe of the Owls Hill. One of the most interesting authentic interior pieces is the vintage meloleum floor.
Kaunas City Museum Mikas and Kipras Petrauskai house
K. Petrausko g. 31 / www.kaunomuziejus.lt
Kipras Petrauskas was the superstar of interwar Kaunas; the tenor singer lived in a fancy house in the street now named after him. The house still exists today and inside you can find out about the fantastic and glamorous history of Lithuanian music and theatre. The lifestyle of its most shiny stars, too!
Kaunas City Museum Juozas Gruodis House
Salako g. 18 / www.kaunomuziejus.lt
The wooden villa on the outskirts of Žaliakalnis was designed by the renowned interwar architect Feliksas Vizbaras (he did the Central Post Office, too, among other buildings). It’s where composer Juozas Gruodis and his wife lived – the museum staff will tell you all about the exciting couple and their lifestyle. There’s an apple tree in the garden planted by the composer. Call before you travel there, as it’s only open by appointment.
Antanas Žmuidzinavičius Creations And Collections Museum
V. Putvinskio g. 64 / www.ciurlionis.lt
One of a kind, the Devils’ museum sports a collection of over 3,000 devil creatures from all over the world. It was started by the painter Žmuidzinavičius, whose interwar house – and an inspiring artist studio – you can visit next door. Pay attention to the curved doors, one of the very few remaining in Kaunas.
Maironis Lithuanian Literature Museum
Rotušės a. 13 / www.maironiomuziejus.lt
“All of my furniture, books, painting and everything else with at least some historical value should be moved to a museum bearing my name,” requested Maironis, a priest and one of the best-known romantic Lithuanian poets. His palace on the Town Hall Square consequently became the museum he wanted as well as becoming the museum of Lithuanian literature. Inside here, the newly renovated flat of the poet is an interesting example of early 20th-century interior design. Visit the garden too, if the weather permits.
Juozas Tumas-Vaižgantas Memorial Flat-Museum
Aleksoto g. 10 – 4 / www.maironiomuziejus.lt
The critical observations of Lithuanian society written by the priest Vaižgantas, seem as fresh today as the day he wrote them. The yellow canaries kept by the museum staff are exactly the same type as those kept by the priest when he lived in the flat more than... 90 years ago! We adore the colour palette of the living room.
A charming flat in a freshly renovated interwar residential building on the corner of Gedimino and K. Donelaičio streets has also recently been fully restored. Its new owners, real estate businessmen Karolis Banys and Petras Gaidamavičius, are devoted fans of art deco and modernism; they did their best and didn’t spare any money to recreate what was possible from the interwar era, including tiny precious details. You can contact them via Facebook and schedule a visit. Oh, and they have just bought another historic apartment on Vytauto street...
When climbing up the narrow stairs to Žaliakalnis, an elaborate gate and behind it a garden – like little Italy – catches your eye. In that garden stands the house of Stasys Kudokas, one of the most famous architects of the interwar period – and he designed it for himself. If sightseeing is not enough for you, Airbnb offers to stay in an apartment in this very villa. Book yourself an art deco getaway by clicking this link.