About the Conference

Modernism for the Future. Interpretations

The conference marks the symbolic conclusion of the “Modernism for the Future” programme, which has been running over the last five years as part of Kaunas’ European Capital of Culture 2022. Intensive work on interpretations of modernism has confirmed that an essential condition for the successful integration of a historic urban layer into the contemporary city is a multifaceted narrative combining the knowledge, stories and motivations of scholars, heritage professionals, artists, heritage site owners, the heritage community at large and an enthusiastic public. Only a multifaceted picture of historic architecture reflects the complexities and contradictions of the built environment. Focusing on the dialogue between art and heritage, and taking the architectural legacy of the 20th century as the principal example, we took these sites as a cultural heritage laboratory, where today’s interdisciplinary interpretations and histories are as important as the authentic signs of the past.  

The conference aims to summarise and celebrate the experience of Kaunas and to continue the discussion on artistic interpretations of heritage based on the experiences of different cultures and regions. Speakers will share insights into modernism as a source of creative inspiration and optimism and discuss examples of artistic representations of modernist architecture and its heritage. The conference will discuss not only how heritage can be influenced by the subjective perceptions and ideologies of a time or people, but also how heritage, especially modern heritage, can affect the planet and people, and how to preserve and valorise it in times of ecological crises so that it is relevant for future generations. All of these discussions are very important for possible visions for the future of heritage conservation to help us THINK ABOUT THE FUTURE.

 

Outcome

The outcome of the conference is a series of podcasts prepared with the cooperation of Thomas Dyckhoff and Kotryna Lingienė. The collection involves 10 episodes of digital audio programmes, which allow the listeners to directly hear the speakers of the conference, who are specialists from various fields and geographies. The topics of the podcasts vary from subjective artistic interpretations to the objective scientific research of the modern heritage both for contemporary practices and the future of heritage preservation.

Video review of the last conference in 2018

All presentations of the last conference can be viewed on our Youtube channel “Modernism for the Future” or in the website.

We welcome

“Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022” is inviting you to the Conference “MODERNISM FOR THE FUTURE. INTERPRETATIONS” on September 21-22, 2022. Please fill in the form below in order to participate at the Conference. Participation is free of charge, but the number of places are limited. If any questions, please feel free to get in touch: modernizmasateiciai@gmail.com

REGISTRATION

Keynote speakers

Aideen Barry
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Aideen Barry

Visual Artist

“On the collective act of interpreting the hidden histories of Kaunas Architectural Heritage“

A presentation by Barry on the tools and ploys that she adopted and engaged in to manifest creative engagement, buy-in and ownership of this large scale public art project and cinematic Art Film. In this lecture, the artist will cover her involvement in the project from its inception in 2019 to the creation of an internationally shown Art Film that will bring the lens both onto the city of Interwar Modernist Architecture but also the hidden histories of its citizens and mythologies enshrined within the walls. 

The presentation will cover how Barry used the mode of “interpretation” as carte blanche for the citizens of Kaunas, local artists, composers, dancers, choreographers, children, young people, senior citizens and stakeholders to weave an enormous tapestry of moving images and artworks that empowered the story of this architectural mecca of interwar modernism: envoking ideas of Foucault and his theories of Heterotopic Spaces and inspired by the structures of Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities to construct this collaborative moving image Art work.

 

Trailer of the film “Klostės” (Pleats/Folds):

Jorge Otero-Pailos
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Jorge Otero-Pailos

Columbia University

“Art as a Method of Experimental Preservation“ (online presentation)

In this talk, I will discuss my approach to art as a method of experimental preservation, and argue for its relevance in imagining a future for the existing built environment centered on mutual care. I will draw from a series of recent works in which I employ material residues of buildings and sites – including airborne atmospheric dust, waterways, traces of sweat, and body sounds – to render their invisible meanings visible. In particular, I will focus on my experimental preservation of the security fence that surrounded the U.S. Embassy in Oslo, a modernist masterpiece designed by Eero Saarinen in 1959. Recently listed as a National Norwegian Monument and sold to a private owner, the listing carefully excluded the fence as unsightly, making it impossible to preserve by traditional methods. However, the fence represents an important chapter in the building’s history that is worthy of preservation. To prevent its imminent erasure required a detournement of the demolition process: upcycling the twisted remains of the fence into 51 sculptures. Both art and material evidence, each sculpture is a fragment of a larger story of place and diplomacy that is made legible through the tensions between the movements the fence affords and disallows.

 

Previous work by Jorge Otero-Pailos:

Speakers

Agata Etmanowicz
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Agata Etmanowicz

Impact Foundation

Edward Denison
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Edward Denison

University College London

Grzegorz Piątek
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Grzegorz Piątek

Researcher

Guang Yu Ren
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Guang Yu Ren

University College London

Hugo Herrera Tobón
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Hugo Herrera Tobón

Visual Artist

Ievgeniia Gubkina
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Ievgeniia Gubkina

Researcher

Justinas Kalinauskas
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Justinas Kalinauskas

Archi/texture

Laura Serra
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Laura Serra

Kolektiv Cité Radieuse

Linara Dovydaitytė
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Linara Dovydaitytė

Vytautas Magnus University

Lolita Jablonskienė
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Lolita Jablonskienė

National gallery of art

Marija Drėmaitė
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Marija Drėmaitė

Vilnius University

Maxime Forest
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Maxime Forest

Sciences Po (OFCE)

Maxwell Mutanda
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Maxwell Mutanda

University College London

Owen Hatherley
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Owen Hatherley

Writer/Journalist

Popi Iacovou
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Popi Iacovou

University of Cyprus

Rafał Lis
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Rafał Lis

Poland Without Barriers Foundation

Rasa Chmieliauskaitė
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Rasa Chmieliauskaitė

Archi/texture

Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti
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Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti

DAAR

Sandra Uskokovic
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Sandra Uskokovic

University of Dubrovnik

Uta Pottgiesser
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Uta Pottgiesser

DoCoMoMo International

Organizational team

Scientific committee

Edward Denison
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Edward Denison

University College London

Marija Drėmaitė
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Marija Drėmaitė

Vilnius University

Maxime Forest
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Maxime Forest

Sciences Po (OFCE)

Sandra Uskokovic
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Sandra Uskokovic

University of Dubrovnik

Uta Pottgiesser
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Uta Pottgiesser

DoCoMoMo International

Vaidas Petrulis
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Vaidas Petrulis

Kaunas University of Technology

Viltė Migonytė-Petrulienė
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Viltė Migonytė-Petrulienė

Vytautas Magnus University

Organisational team

Algimantas Grigas
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Algimantas Grigas

Architect

Huriye Armağan Doğan
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Huriye Armağan Doğan

Kaunas University of Technology

Monika Pociūtė
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Monika Pociūtė

Kaunas 2022

Vaiva Marija Bružaitė
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Vaiva Marija Bružaitė

Kaunas 2022

Žilvinas Rinkšelis
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Žilvinas Rinkšelis

Kaunas 2022

Podcast team

Kotryna Lingienė
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Kotryna Lingienė

Journalist

Thomas Dyckhoff
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Thomas Dyckhoff

Writer/Journalist

Programme

Presentation of the pavilion “Archi/textura” and workshops (not only) about audio description “ADed value”

The interactive pavilion “Archi/Textūra” will present three years of research on the topic of non-visual experiential architecture by architect Rasa Chmieliauskaitė and art theorist dr. Justinas Kalinauskas. This research, carried out together with the Lithuanian Union of the Blind and Visually Impaired community, sought a new grammar of the organization of architectural space, aimed at invisible dialogue with the environment around us and revealed through tactile, auditory and orientational relations with the architectural phenomenon. After the presentation of the Pavilion the topic of access and accessibility – especially in arts and architecture – will be continued with the workshop led by Impact Foundation team: Rafał Lis and Agata Etmanowicz. Looking for connections between the qualities (informational, artistic, or simply social) that generate objects and events through sight, hearing, touch (with different meanings), or even taste. The participants will have an opportunity to meet the specific of making an audio description and discuss the challenges of finding new solutions.

Curators: RASA CHMIELAISKAITĖ and JUSTINAS KALINAUSKAS

Workshop moderators: RAFAL LIS and AGATA ETMANOWICZ

More about the pavilion “Archi/Textūra”: https://architextura.lt/ | More about the "Impact Foundation": http://www.impactaudience.org/

3 h

Kaunas Central Post Office (Laisvės av. 102)

Lunch

Lunch break.

1 h

ICOMOS ISC20C regional seminar: „New Nation States Within the Twentieth-Century Historic Thematic Framework”

Turning the past into heritage is an act of cultural empowerment. An act that depends on our constantly changing political, social or emotional relationship with the physical artefact. David Lowenthal once said that “the past is a foreign country reshaped by today, its strangeness domesticated by our own modes of caring for its vestiges”. The reasoning behind the decision to declare the artefact of the past a cultural heritage is constantly being updated, rethought and refined. For our generation, heritage is no longer the most beautiful or oldest fragments of our past. Heritage now is instead a complex testimony of humans as a species.  ICOMOS ISC20C invites the world heritage community to a series of regional seminars on the “Twentieth-Century Historic Thematic Framework” as a tool for rethinking the global narratives associated with 20th-century heritage. Seminars aim not only to develop the knowledge and broad understanding of 20th century heritage but also to support opportunities to present, share and expand their new cases and ideas on the 20th century. The seminar in Kaunas will focus on the topic of “New Nation-states” as a phenomenon of modernizing world. Based on the experience of Kaunas European Capital of Culture, the seminar will debate the role of contemporary interpretations in the process of identifying, understanding and disseminating of this narrative.

Moderator: VAIDAS PETRULIS

For more: http://www.icomos-isc20c.org/

1 h 30 min

Kaunas' Artist House (V. Putvinskio st. 56)

Exhibition opening: “Kaunas Modernism, Interpreted”

"Interpreting Modernism through Design and Visual Arts", is a year-long project, commissioned by Kaunas 2022 to Laura Serra and Maxime Forest, co-founders of Kolektiv Cité Radieuse, based at the UNESCO-listed Le Corbusier Housing Unit in Marseille. Devoted to the relation of those disciplines to 20th century architecture, Kolektiv invited four international guests from the Czech Republic, Poland, and Ukraine, to share their inspiring practices around interpreting modernism with Lithuanian architects, designers, and artists. Selected through an open call, participants were encouraged to expand and challenge their own practices during a collective residency held at Villa Ilijinai in Kaunas in October 2021.

Based on an iterative process initiated with a co-design workshop held during the residency, participants developed their own, genuine interpretations of Kaunas interwar and post-war modernism. From textile design, through graphic works, (video) installations and furniture, the exhibition launched on XX of September 2022, reflects both the step-by-step process and the pluri-disciplinary standpoint adopted for the project. It argues that interpreting and preserving modernist heritage, and endorsing the complex, often contentious history that underpins it, require engaging with communities, to strengthen a sense of localness and belonging, while exploring contemporary issues such as sustainability or conflicting memories.

Curators: LAURA SERRA and MAXIME FOREST

More about the project: https://modernizmasateiciai.lt/en/portfolio-item/interpretations-of-modernism-through-design-and-visual-arts/

60 min

House of Iljinai family (K. Donelaičio st. 19)

Exhibition: “ARNO FUNK[TIONALISM]”. Curatorial Tour and Presentation of the Book

Arno Funk was one of the most interesting and enigmatic architects of the interwar Kaunas. Little is known about his life, but the buildings he designed tell stories about the interwar Lithuania, modernisation of Kaunas, its architecture, its inhabitants, and daily life. Arno Funk’s architecture is characterised by a unique combination of elegance and functionality. He designed functional homes with beautiful facades and charming interiors. He added elegance to industrial plants and dignity to public buildings. An exhibition dedicated to the architect’s work is shown in the house he designed for Adelė and Paulius Galaunė (1932). The exhibition consists of four parts: The Galaunė house, the interior salon, the residential hall, and the public buildings study. Arno Funk’s unique attention to the beauty and functionality of everyday environments is revealed through photographs, designs, the personalities of the clients, and the sparse biographical material that has survived. The event will include a book of "ARNO FUNKtionalism. Life and works of architect Arno Funk (1898–1957)" launch.

Curator: MARIJA DRĖMAITĖ

More about the exhibition: https://ciurlionis.lt/veikla/padaliniai/a-ir-p-galauniu-namai-muziejus/parodos/arno-funk-cionalizmas-1898-1957/

60 min

House of Galaunės family (Vydūno av. 2, Kaunas)

Premier “Klostės/Folds”

Directed by Aideen Barry, “Folds/Pleats”, presenting the modernist architecture of Kaunas, Lithuania and dedicated to the year of European Capital of Culture Year, is being premiered in Lithuania. The film will be screened for the first time in Kaunas.

The film was made through an unusual process. The artist’s creative practice is based on community involvement: the plot is based on the stories told by the citizens, and the residents of Kaunas become characters in the film. The surrealistic “Folds/Pleats” combines the city’s heritage, history, and its people’s fictional novels. 

The title of the architectural film is a metaphor for the recurring elements in interwar architecture and the creative process itself: the plot is folded from thousands of photographs. Stories fold between stories, buildings between buildings. The viewers, together with the characters, peek into the interiors of the buildings, marvel at the typical rounded windows of Kaunas and the elegant staircase doors, and gaze at the ceiling as if lying on a carpet with a cigar smouldering in between his fingers.

During the screening of the film, in the lobby of the Romuva Cinema Center, it will also be possible to see the experiential installation "Folds" and an exhibition presenting the process of making the film. Authors of the exhibition: AIDEEN BARRY, architect POVILAS VINCENTAS JANKŪNAS, technician MINDAUGAS BARNATAVIČIUS.

Director/writer AIDEEN BARRY 

Director of Photography MIKAS ZABULIONIS

Music Composers: ARŪNAS PERIOKAS, PATRIS ŽIDELEVIČIUS, IEVA RAUBYTĖ

Editor & Colourist  ALEKS RYDZKOWSKA

Foley Artist DOMINYKA ADOMAITYTĖ

Visual effects: ALEKSANDRAS POLEVOJUS, SIMONAS KORSAKAS, QI QIAN 

Production: KAUNAS 2022 / MODERNISM FOR THE FUTURE

More about the film: https://www.klostes.com/

1h 30 min

Movie theatre "Romuva" (Laisvės al. 54)

Registration

Registration to the Conference.

30 min

Kaunas Žalgiris arena amphitheatre hall

Welcome speech

The Curator of the Conference: VAIDAS PETRULIS The Minister of Culture of Lithuania: SIMONAS KAIRYS CEO Kaunas 2022: VIRGINIJA VITKIENĖ Representative of DOCOMOMO: UTA POTTGIESSER

30 min

Kaunas Žalgiris arena amphitheatre hall

Keynote: AIDEEN BARRY (Visual artist, Ireland) – “On the collective act of interpreting the hidden histories of Kaunas Architectural Heritage“

A presentation by Barry on the tools and ploys that she adopted and engaged in to manifest creative engagement, buy-in and ownership of this large scale public art project and cinematic Art Film. In this lecture, the artist will cover her involvement in the project from its inception in 2019 to the creation of an internationally shown Art Film that will bring the lens both onto the city of Interwar Modernist Architecture but also the hidden histories of its citizens and mythologies enshrined within the walls.  The presentation will cover how Barry used the mode of "interpretation" as carte blanche for the citizens of Kaunas, local artists, composers, dancers, choreographers, children, young people, senior citizens and stakeholders to weave an enormous tapestry of moving images and artworks that empowered the story of this architectural mecca of interwar modernism: envoking ideas of Foucault and his theories of Heterotopic Spaces and inspired by the structures of Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities to construct this collaborative moving image Art work.

45 min

Kaunas Žalgiris arena amphitheatre hall

Keynote: JORGE OTERO-PAILOS (Columbia University) – “Art as a Method of Experimental Preservation” (online presentation)

In this talk, I will discuss my approach to art as a method of experimental preservation, and argue for its relevance in imagining a future for the existing built environment centered on mutual care. I will draw from a series of recent works in which I employ material residues of buildings and sites – including airborne atmospheric dust, waterways, traces of sweat, and body sounds – to render their invisible meanings visible. In particular, I will focus on my experimental preservation of the security fence that surrounded the U.S. Embassy in Oslo, a modernist masterpiece designed by Eero Saarinen in 1959. Recently listed as a National Norwegian Monument and sold to a private owner, the listing carefully excluded the fence as unsightly, making it impossible to preserve by traditional methods. However, the fence represents an important chapter in the building’s history that is worthy of preservation. To prevent its imminent erasure required a detournement of the demolition process: upcycling the twisted remains of the fence into 51 sculptures. Both art and material evidence, each sculpture is a fragment of a larger story of place and diplomacy that is made legible through the tensions between the movements the fence affords and disallows.

45 min

Kaunas Žalgiris arena amphitheatre hall

Discussion: JORGE OTERO-PAILOS, AIDEEN BARRY and UTA POTTGIESSER

Moderator: SANDRA USKOKOVIC (University of Dubrovnik)

30 min

Kaunas Žalgiris arena amphitheatre hall

Lunch

Lunch break.

90 min

Žalgiris arena, restaurant "Sala", Kaunas

Roundtable session: “Modern Heritage and Subjectivity”

The architecture of modernism, which was once new and provocative, today has become an object of heritage. Yet, even in modern science-based heritage conservation, it is argued that many conservation decisions are by their nature subjective, and that taste or professional preference plays an important role. A subjective scheme of interpretation, subjective definition of modernism, and subjective approach to the unity of intention of the modern epoch are useful to constantly renew our perception of modernism.  Subjectivity has been observed as the primary direction in the development of modern art, defining modern art as the subjective interpretation (or creation) of reality. Yet, the contemporary researcher no longer seeks to fit a unifying international-style ideal but rather seeks to reveal unique, regional, and precarious forms of modernism and to rethink the objectivity/subjectivity of modernism through his or her own subjective relationship to modernism. This roundtable brings together authors, curators, practitioners, and artists involved in interpreting modernist heritage through exhibitions, written texts, and creative actions. Panellists from Spain, Poland, and Lithuania will explore the subjective nature of modernism, and the subjective interpretations of modernist heritages, and will discuss the rise of subjectivity in the research of modernisms.

Chair: MARIJA DRĖMAITĖ (Vilnius University)

Speakers: HUGO HERRERA TOBÓN (Visual Artist, Spain), GRZEGORZ PIĄTEK (Researcher, Poland), LOLITA JABLONSKIENĖ (Chief Curator of National Gallery of Arts of Lithuania).

60 min

Kaunas Žalgiris arena amphitheatre hall

Roundtable session: “Modern Heritage and Anthropocene”

The heritage of our recent past possesses the paradox of being of modernity and yet existentially threatened by its consequences. This paradox connects the near past with distant futures through the precarious present at the dawn of the Anthropocene. This session focuses on diverse issues associated with this condition, from ecological crisis to structural racism, and their lessons for researching, defining, protecting, and ascribing value to ‘the modern’. Motivated by our present precarity and inspired by the message of Modernism for the Future, the panel will be invited to consider how to critique, reframe, and reconfigure modern heritage to achieve a more equitable and just future.

Chair: EDWARD DENISON (UCL)

Speakers: LINARA DOVIDAITYTĖ (Vytautas Magnus University), GUANG YU REN (UCL),  MAXWELL MUTANDA (UCL)

Online participation: SANDI HILAL + ALESSANDRO PETTI  (DAAR) 

60 min

Kaunas Žalgiris arena amphitheatre hall

Coffee break

30 min

Kaunas Žalgiris arena amphitheatre hall

Roundtable session: “Contemporary interpretation practices for contested modernist heritages”

Modernism has proved to be highly versatile. By placing an emphasis on a few shared principles, the role of a few male-dominated movements and a small circle of pioneers, this concept allowed embracing very different historical and ideological settings, as well as to refer to countless architectural and visual expressions. This uniformization of a genuinely diverse movement characterized by numerous vernacular translations has been shaped by the ideological and geopolitical divides of the 20th Century. Modernism has thus been framed through the hegemonic views on modernity held by once-dominant ideologies such as communism or fascism, but also through (post)colonialism and the post-war expansion of modern capitalism. This is reflected in how modernist heritages are perceived and dealt with today, often as part of politics of nationhood, state-building and memory.

This roundtable brings together authors, academics, practitioners, and visual artists involved in interpreting modernism through dealing with ideologies. From constructivism in the double context of the Bolshevik revolution and state-building, through the red metropolises from an East-West perspective or the modernist heritage of the last divided city in Europe still affected by colonization, to the remains of civil and military cold-war nuclear architecture, panellists from Cyprus, Lithuania, Ukraine and the United Kingdom will explore heavily contested modernist heritages. Their respective contributions will aim to demonstrate how their multidisciplinary practices largely exceed the realm of architecture preservation and documentation to challenge contemporary ideological narratives or gendered views and to travel conflicting memories.

Chair: MAXIME FOREST (Sciences Po (OFCE))

Speakers: IEVGENIIA (JENIA) GUBKINA (Researcher, Ukraine), OWEN HATHERLEY (Writer/Journalist, UK), POPI IACOVOU (University of Cyprus).

60 min

Kaunas Žalgiris arena amphitheatre hall

Closing speech

15 min

Kaunas Žalgiris arena amphitheatre hall

Event place

International Conference will be organised in Kaunas Žalgiris arena, Amphitheatre hall. It is the biggest multi-functional arena in the Baltic region. Furthermore, it is home for “Žalgiris” Kaunas, the legendary basketball team, that plays in Eurolague. Design of the building is minimalistic, with features of high-tech and industrial architecture. It is one of the biggest projects of contemporary architecture of Lithuania, created during the years of independence. 

Karaliaus Mindaugo avenue 50,
Kaunas LT-44334
Nemunas island

About placeMapAmphitheatre hall

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