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Kaunas City Municipality

(former Savings Bank)

10°C
Laisvės al. 96, Kaunas
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Strict forms and clear functions, this is how one could briefly describe the Kaunas City Municipality building located in Laisvės Alėja (Liberty Avenue). In 1940, when the building for the State Savings Bank was completed, such means of expression weren’t predominant. Compared to the tradition of historicism, typical of objects of state importance, such forms can be regarded as a breath of fresh air, and the rhythm of the vertical lines of the facade is already a feature of Kaunas Modernism.

It’s possible to compare this building to the Darbo rūmai (Work Palace) built at the similar time and that’s now the location of the Kaunas Cultural Centre Tautos Namai (Home of the Nation). By the way, one of the engineers, Adolfas Lukošaitis, worked on both buildings. A colleague of his who worked on the building of the Savings Bank was Bronius Elsbergas, and the author of the design itself was the architect Arnas Funkas, who won the contest to design it in 1938. The contest was international, a fact that indicates the importance of the building. In 1939, there was also a separate contest for the construction of the sculpture on the façade that was won by Bronius Pundzius (among the other works of this sculptor are the Vandens nešėja (Water Bearer) in Žaliakalnis, the bust of Maironis and one of the famous former sculptures on the Žaliasis tiltas (Green Bridge) in Vilnius).

The building that has five floors (the main corpus has six) and is comprised of three laconic volumes, was supposed to accommodate not only the Savings Bank but also the departments of commerce and statistics and other institutions whose employees had to look at Laisvės alėja through the narrow, high windows. A pneumatic post system was supposed to simplify communication among the many departments connected by maze-like corridors.

As the building wasn’t completed before the Soviet occupation that took place during the summer of 1940, its function was later changed and the Kaunas Executive and Communist Party committees subsequently settled here. The first floor was reconstructed after the restoration of independence, and the Kaunas City Municipality started operating here. Even though none of the original ideas regarding this building survived, there’s still a lot to find out about it. The rotating door invites people to come inside and see the picture-worthy ethnic design elements that stood the test of occupation. Also surviving is an example of an Art Deco graphic—a unique glazed ceiling in the Grand Hall.

In 2015, the European Commission awarded 44 objects of Modernist interwar architecture in Kaunas the European Heritage Label, among them the building where the Kaunas City Municipality operates today.

Kaunas City Municipality

(former Savings Bank)

Laisvės al. 96, Kaunas

Strict forms and clear functions, this is how one could briefly describe the Kaunas City Municipality building located in Laisvės Alėja (Liberty Avenue). In 1940, when the building for the State Savings Bank was completed, such means of expression weren’t predominant. Compared to the tradition of historicism, typical of objects of state importance, such forms can be regarded as a breath of fresh air, and the rhythm of the vertical lines of the facade is already a feature of Kaunas Modernism.

It’s possible to compare this building to the Darbo rūmai (Work Palace) built at the similar time and that’s now the location of the Kaunas Cultural Centre Tautos Namai (Home of the Nation). By the way, one of the engineers, Adolfas Lukošaitis, worked on both buildings. A colleague of his who worked on the building of the Savings Bank was Bronius Elsbergas, and the author of the design itself was the architect Arnas Funkas, who won the contest to design it in 1938. The contest was international, a fact that indicates the importance of the building. In 1939, there was also a separate contest for the construction of the sculpture on the façade that was won by Bronius Pundzius (among the other works of this sculptor are the Vandens nešėja (Water Bearer) in Žaliakalnis, the bust of Maironis and one of the famous former sculptures on the Žaliasis tiltas (Green Bridge) in Vilnius).

The building that has five floors (the main corpus has six) and is comprised of three laconic volumes, was supposed to accommodate not only the Savings Bank but also the departments of commerce and statistics and other institutions whose employees had to look at Laisvės alėja through the narrow, high windows. A pneumatic post system was supposed to simplify communication among the many departments connected by maze-like corridors.

As the building wasn’t completed before the Soviet occupation that took place during the summer of 1940, its function was later changed and the Kaunas Executive and Communist Party committees subsequently settled here. The first floor was reconstructed after the restoration of independence, and the Kaunas City Municipality started operating here. Even though none of the original ideas regarding this building survived, there’s still a lot to find out about it. The rotating door invites people to come inside and see the picture-worthy ethnic design elements that stood the test of occupation. Also surviving is an example of an Art Deco graphic—a unique glazed ceiling in the Grand Hall.

In 2015, the European Commission awarded 44 objects of Modernist interwar architecture in Kaunas the European Heritage Label, among them the building where the Kaunas City Municipality operates today.

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