Gedimino Prospektas in Naujamiestas (New Town) is a street about 2 kilometers long which begins at the Cathedral Square . It runs the length of the lower part of Naujamiestas to the Zveryno Bridge. It was first laid in 1836.
Its name changed according to political circumstance: from Sv. Jurgio to A. Mickiewicz, Gedimino, Stalino, Lenino, and again Gedimino Prospektas. Administrative and public buildings, a few residential apartments, and countless shops, cafe's and restaurants line this street.
Academy of Science Vilnius
An interesting architectural construction is Gedimino Prospektas number 3, the Academy of Sciences. The building is from 1909 by the architect Mikhail Prozorov. It has an intact Art Nouveau interior. Development of scientific thought in Lithuania saw periods of excellence and decline.
The idea to set up the Academy of Sciences was first conceived at the beginning of the 20th century by members of the Lithuanian Learned Society. The most distinguished intellectuals of Lithuania strove to carry it out it. But only in 1939 it became the basis of the system of the Humanities Institutes of the Academy founded later.
Establishment of the Academy
Owing to historical circumstances, the Academy of Sciences started on 16 January 1941, the moment when Lithuania had already lost its independence. During the first stage of its establishment the Humanities prevailed in the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences. In the postwar years the academy functioned under harsh conditions when the activities of scientists were strictly regulated. But within the Academy of Sciences the progressive scientific thought was always alive.
It was especially stimulated by a great authority in electro-chemistry, Prof. Juozas Matulis, the long-standing President of the Academy of Sciences. Some science institutions emerged, and the scientific community was growing. The most advanced were the studies in the fields of physics, mathematics and in some natural sciences.
Their main research trends were taking shape. It was in these fields that the most significant scientific results known and recognized all over the world were achieved. The humanities and social sciences were on the decline. Yet the ideas of nation's statehood and sovereignty, love and concern for the country's problems and fate have never perished.
|Address||Gedimino Prospektas 3, Vilnius|
National Drama Theater Gedimino Prospektas
Almost across the street is the National Drama Theater, built in 1981. The site belonged to the Liutnia theater in 1910, and was re-organized in 1950-1951. Taking the scale of the surroundings into account, the architects rejected the traditional view of a theater as an urban focal point. The stage is at the back of the block.
They covered the entire plot, and introduced a central lobby with a fountain and the sculpture Springs in the middle of it, surrounded by an exhibition gallery. This organization of the inner space was a reference to the urban structure of the inner courtyards of Vilnius Old Town. The only expressive feature creating a special theatrical mood on the street facade is the brass sculpture The feast of the muzes over the main entrance.
The reserved composition and the simple finish of details allowed viewers to concentrate. The design received the USSR State Prize in 1983.
|Address||Gedimino Prospektas 4, Vilnius|
General State Savings Bank Vilnius
Powszechna Kasa Oszczednosci
The General State Savings Bank is a design by the Warsaw architects Juliusz Zorawski and Zbigniew Puget. The pale yellow sandstone and granite finish gives the building some sophistication. While it's possible to discern allusions to Neo-Classicism in the structure of the building, the ascetic shapes only used by its Warsaw architects give it a Functionalist architectural impression.
A mural by Ludomir Slendzinski entitled "Work and Frugality Leading to Success" decorates the operations hall across two floors. Last time I checked this was a branch of SEB-bank.
|Address||Gedimino Prospektas 12, Vilnius|
Jablowski House of Trade Vilnius
At the beginning of the 20th century, the brothers Zawadski commissioned a modern trade house. Its construction began in 1914, but it was only finished after the war. The famous Jablowski House of Trade and the Institute of the Highest Guild of Merchants moved into it.
The building stand at a crossing of 3 streets, and dominates its surroundings. The iron concrete shell makes the architecture simple. Last time I checked there were a Zara and a Maxima Supermarket in the building.
|Address||Gedimino Prospektas 18, Vilnius|
Julian Kogan House Vilnius
Julian Kogan's house resembles the plan of Sergiusz Lopacinski's house (Jogailos Street 8). The same architect designed it. Aleksander Antonowicz designed the entrance to the courtyard at the center, the front staircase and the lift are next to it. The avant-corps on the yard side contain service spaces and back stairs. On the facade of the building, two lower floors set a little deeper have Ionic columns.
The upper three floors are uniform and topped by a wide Renaissance cornice. The mix of Classical elements and modern windows gives the composition an unexpected tension. The building now houses the Lithuanian Bureau for Statistics.
|Address||Gedimino Prospektas 29, Vilnius|
Merchant's Club Vilnius
The Vilnius Society of Commerce and Industry, also called the Merchant's Club, built premises on the former Georgyi Avenue, near Lukiškės Square, at the beginning of 1913. The architect was a member of the Society, which also included prominent Vilnius merchants and landlords. A loan from the Vilnius Land Bank funded its construction.
There were six shops on the ground floor, the club chambers above them, and a luxurious meeting and concert hall on the 2nd floor. The site of the Merchants' Club on a street corner determined the asymmetrical volume of the building and the Baroque tower.
|Address||Gedimino Prospektas 35, Vilnius|
Constitutional Court Vilnius
The building of the Constitutional Court (the former Chamber of Trade and Manufacturing) is a rather early example of the gradual spread of Modernism in architecture in interwar Vilnius, and there is also a notable influence of the academic tradition. Its main attraction is the arcade loggia of the portal, opening in 2 directions, and the 2-floor windows over it, rising in perfect order.
The plan of the building is interesting, asymmetrical and broken, and there's a rounded projection at the back. This reserved but formal building housed the Vilnius City Committee of the Lithuanian Communist Party from 1944. An annex came with renovation work in 1980. This was one of the first public buildings in interwar Vilnius constructed in the spirit of Modernism.
|Address||Gedimino Prospektas 36, Vilnius|
Parliament Building Vilnius
In 1969, it was decided that the most important building of state authority should be on the site of the former Youth Stadium. The building of the Supreme Council of the LSSR (now the Seimas) was intended to form an administrative complex of nine buildings at the end of Gedimino Prospektas. The symmetrical and rectangular building should create the impression of a "perpendicular street", inserting the closed volume of the building into its surroundings, and, in a way, democratizing the government building. At the moment an iron gate closes the courtyard off from democracy.
Architecture of the Parliament building
The main semantic content of the building was provided by the tectonics of the facade. The massive upper floor emphasized the building's importance both in composition as in symbolism. The lower part of the building was also rhythmical, divided by prominent supports surrounding the entire facade like columns, in a rather Neoclassical way. The interior has many monumental works of art. Kazimiras Morkunas' stained glass work Feast (1981), Steponas Sarapvoas' bas-reliefs Dispute and Road (1979-1981), and Kestutis Balcikonis' work Vytis (1992). The materials of the finish are durable and warm in color. It consists of plaster, wood, fabric wall-coverings and carpets.
Ministry of Agriculture Vilnius
The architect of the former building of the Ministry of Agriculture was Vladimir Afanasyev, who studied at the St. Petersburg Academy of Art, and arrived in Vilnius after World War II. In the 1953 design, the building was to be more decorative. The upper part was to have a large bas-relief with the emblem of Soviet Lithuania. The rectangular volume of the five-floor wing continues the line of buildings on the street.
Only the Gedimino Prospektas facade has decoration. It features a darker ground floor and main entrance, the decoration of which reaches the first floor. The corner that runs around the whole building is supported on the facade by modillions decorated with flower motifs.
The ground floor and the sides of the building are rusticated. Pilaster separate the windows. The building is typical for the epoch, and does not stand out in the Historicist context of the architecture of Gedimino Prospektas.
|Address||Gedimino Prospektas 56, Vilnius|