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Former building of the Pieno centras (Milk Centre) company

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Laisvės al. 55 / S. Daukanto g. 18, Kaunas
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Whilst looking at the archive of Vytautas Landsbergis-Žemkalnis, one the country’s busiest architects during both the interwar and post-war periods, it’s possible to see the entire process of designing the palace of the Pieno centras company, located in the heart of Laisvės alėja (Freedom Avenue). Interestingly, the solution to the round corner of the building, which today is considered iconic, was sought after for quite a long time, albeit not without a worthy result. In 1937, the palace, designed with the help from Karolis Reisonas (Kārlis Reisons), another productive architect of the interwar period, was awarded with an honorary diploma and a bronze medal at the international exhibition Exposition Internationale des Arts et des Techniques in Paris.

The palace was built in the space of a year in 1932, although it wasn’t fully completed until 1934. As fast as it might seem, this kind of speed was normal in a fast-growing city. The multi-functional building has a frame of reinforced concrete, which provided a wide range of possibilities for the layout of the interior. On the first floor of the expressive palace (below it was a spacious cellar known as the ice-house) there were commercial institutions including a milk bar, a shop, a bistro and a very trendy hairdressing salon owned by Juozas Muralis. And where the wives of the most important statesmen would come to get their hair done.

On the second and third floor was the administration of the Union of Milk Processing Companies, which had a lot of work. For example, the export of Lithuanian butter and eggs in 1939 accounted for 25% of the country’s total export. In the same year, 176 dairies were members of the union, 2,159 collection points operated in the country to which 106,905 farmers delivered 499,297 tonnes of milk.

There are apartments on the upper floors of the palace, from which impressive views open up. As was the case with visiting Muralis’ hairdressing salon, not everyone could afford to live in them.

In 1964, the Pieno centras building was given to the Kaunas Polytechnic Institute (now Kaunas University of Technology), and its layout was changed. In 2014, the students and lecturers vacated the building although it’s still occasionally open for various events.

In 2015, the European Commission awarded 44 objects of Modernist interwar architecture in Kaunas the European Heritage Label, among them the former headquarters of Pieno centras and the closest neighbour of the palace, former Pažanga building, designed by the architect Feliksas Vizbaras.

Former building of the Pieno centras (Milk Centre) company

Laisvės al. 55 / S. Daukanto g. 18, Kaunas

Whilst looking at the archive of Vytautas Landsbergis-Žemkalnis, one the country’s busiest architects during both the interwar and post-war periods, it’s possible to see the entire process of designing the palace of the Pieno centras company, located in the heart of Laisvės alėja (Freedom Avenue). Interestingly, the solution to the round corner of the building, which today is considered iconic, was sought after for quite a long time, albeit not without a worthy result. In 1937, the palace, designed with the help from Karolis Reisonas (Kārlis Reisons), another productive architect of the interwar period, was awarded with an honorary diploma and a bronze medal at the international exhibition Exposition Internationale des Arts et des Techniques in Paris.

The palace was built in the space of a year in 1932, although it wasn’t fully completed until 1934. As fast as it might seem, this kind of speed was normal in a fast-growing city. The multi-functional building has a frame of reinforced concrete, which provided a wide range of possibilities for the layout of the interior. On the first floor of the expressive palace (below it was a spacious cellar known as the ice-house) there were commercial institutions including a milk bar, a shop, a bistro and a very trendy hairdressing salon owned by Juozas Muralis. And where the wives of the most important statesmen would come to get their hair done.

On the second and third floor was the administration of the Union of Milk Processing Companies, which had a lot of work. For example, the export of Lithuanian butter and eggs in 1939 accounted for 25% of the country’s total export. In the same year, 176 dairies were members of the union, 2,159 collection points operated in the country to which 106,905 farmers delivered 499,297 tonnes of milk.

There are apartments on the upper floors of the palace, from which impressive views open up. As was the case with visiting Muralis’ hairdressing salon, not everyone could afford to live in them.

In 1964, the Pieno centras building was given to the Kaunas Polytechnic Institute (now Kaunas University of Technology), and its layout was changed. In 2014, the students and lecturers vacated the building although it’s still occasionally open for various events.

In 2015, the European Commission awarded 44 objects of Modernist interwar architecture in Kaunas the European Heritage Label, among them the former headquarters of Pieno centras and the closest neighbour of the palace, former Pažanga building, designed by the architect Feliksas Vizbaras.

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