When the Western world was developing mid-century Modernism in art and architecture, Socialist Realism unfolded in Lithuania. The ideas and trends of the free world nevertheless penetrated the Iron Curtain. Lithuanian architects who created during the Soviet period got inspiration from the French architect Le Corbusier and had an opportunity to see the projects of Scandinavian Modernism. The ideas of Western architecture did not find their way to the grey districts of uniform multi-apartment residential houses, yet architects managed to create exceptional objects in public spaces. Today they can tell us a lot about the trends of the past and what was in conflict with Soviet ideology. Many of these buildings have preserved their function to date, and a few of them are still waiting for the rebirth.
It is a combination of ascetic modernism and ornate representation. This transparent and modern building with eye-catching impressive, light-reflecting decorative chandeliers almost reaching the floor represents the Soviet epoch. Architect Nijolė Bučiūtė had a brand new word in the contemporary Lithuanian architecture.
The waving terraces of this building as if reiterate Vilnius Baroque. It is an exceptional structure of late Soviet Modernism and its unexpected solutions can only surprise. Interconnected terraces hide the actual height of the building. The interior has remained almost unchanged. And this is a perfect opportunity to take a time travel to the past.
The Palace of Concerts and Sports – an impressive, although derelict building – is situated right at the river bank, in front of the historical Gediminas Castle. Its curvy silhouette reflected the spirit of Modern architecture and the then trendy combinations of reinforced concrete and glass that appeared in the West. The spectacular shapes of the Palace of Sports remind of the works of the famous French architect Le Corbusier.
It is the new church of the Soviet period. It is the first in Lithuania wedding palace, the appearance whereof was dictated by Atheist ideology, i.e. no wedding in the church. A group of young and brave architects created a building of exceptional plastic forms for solemn ceremonies in Vilnius. Its interior, exterior and functions remained totally unchanged, and city dwellers still gather to see married couples descending the stairs of the palace at weekends.
Art Exhibition Palace designed during the Soviet period by Vytautas Čekanauskas could be compared to an explosion. By using the ideas of the free world and following the key principles of the new architecture, the architect created a building that harmoniously integrated in the space of Vilnius Old Town.
The eternal values of architecture. Namely these were highlighted by architects who created a new modern picture gallery in Kaunas. Like no other building in Freedom Avenue (Laisvės alėja) in Kaunas at that period, the gallery became an inseparable part of the city. Its authentic interior has been preserved to date.
The Ice Palace, reminding of a snowdrift, became an exceptional building in the then new Elektrėnai town. It housed the first artificial ice skating rink, and the shapes of the palace, although brought from other Soviet towns, fascinated local people. Famous ice hockey players in the world, Darius Kasparaitis and Dainius Zubrus, started their careers in Elektrėnai.
It is a building-sculpture. A prominent example of the new Soviet Modernist architecture that creatively reiterates the shapes of nature. It is an interesting fact that the treatment facility was constructed from the top. This way allowed creating interesting shapes of architecture and unexpected interior solutions.
The district is an example of innovative Soviet Modernism. It is one of the first residential districts in Vilnius where Scandinavian suburban ideas were implemented. The architects creatively integrated residential houses among pine woods and hills.