Gedimino Prospektas in Naujamiestas (New Town) is an approximately 2 kilometer long street which begins at the Cathedral Square and runs the length of the lower part of Naujamiestas to the Zveryno Bridge. It was first laid in 1836. It 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
An architecturally interesting construction is Gedimino Prospektas number 3 - the Academy of Sciences (before a bank). The building is from 1909 by the architect Mikhail Prozorov. The building has a fairly intact art nouveau interior. The development of scientific thought in Lithuania saw periods of excellence and decline. Under the impact of national revival an attempt was made to set up the Academy of Sciences as the highest autonomous institution of science and culture in Lithuania, which besides its direct science development and promotion functions would also stand as a symbol of the State prestige. The idea to set up the Academy of Sciences was first conceived at the beginning of the 20th century by the Lithuanian Learned Society members (J. Basanavicius, K.Buga, J.Sliupas, and others). The most distinguished intellectuals of Lithuania strove to carry it out it. However, it was not until 1939 Studies was established and it became the basis of the system of the Humanities Institutes of the Academy founded later.
Owing to the historical circumstances, the Academy of Sciences was established on 16 January 1941, i.e. at the moment when Lithuania had already lost its independence. Its first President was the famous Lithuanian scholar and writer V.Krėvė - Mickevičius. During the first stage of its establishment which coincided with the years of the war the Humanities prevailed in the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences. In the postwar years the reestablished Academy of Sciences 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. A number of science institutions were established, 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 widely known and recognized all over the world were achieved. The humanities and social sciences were on the decline. However, 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 Gedimono Prospektas
Almost directly across the street is the National Drama Theater, built in 1981 after a design of the architects Algimantas and Vytautas Nasvytis. The site belonged to the Liutnia theater in 1910, and was re-organized in 1950-1951, supervised by Vladimir Vorobyov. Taken into account the scale of the surroundings, 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 by Stanislovas Kuzma in the middle of it, surrounded by an exhibition gallery.According to the architects, 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 façade was the brass sculpture The feast of the muzes by Kuzma over the main entrance. The reserved composition and the simple finish of the details (mostly in yellow brick and brown wood) were intended to allow viewers to concentrate, instead of distracting them with luxury. The design received the USSR State Prize in 1983.
|Address||Gedimino Prospektas 4, Vilnius|
General State Savings Bank
The General State Savings Bank (Powszechna Kasa Oszczednosci) was designed by the Warsaw architects Juliusz Zorawski and Zbigniew Puget, while its construction was supervised by Jan Borowski. The high-quality pale yellow sandstone and granite finish gives the otherwise calm and simple building an air of sophistication. While it's possible to discern allusions to Neoclassicism in the clear and symmetrical structure of the building, the exclusively ascetic shapes used by its Warsaw architects give it an impression of Functionalist architecture.
The operations hall was decorated across 2 storeys by a mural by Ludomir Slendzinski entitled "Work and Frugality Leading to Success". Last time I checked this was a branch of SEB-bank.
|Address||Gedimino Prospektas 12, Vilnius|
Jablowski House of Trade
At the beginning of the 20th century, a modern house trade was commissioned by the brothers Wladyslaw and Adam Zawadski. Its construction began in 1914, to a design by the architect Kazymierz Krzyzanowski, but it was only finished after the war between 1919 and 1923, according to a design by the famous Warsaw architects Karel Jankowski and Franciszek Lilpop. 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
Julian Kogan's house resembles the plan of Sergiusz Lopacinski's house (Jogailos Street 8), and was designed by the same architect. Aleksander Antonowicz made 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 are set a little deeper and are emphasized with 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|
The Vilnius Society of Commerce and Industry, also called the Merchant's Club (Pirkliu Klubas), built premises on the former Georgyi Avenue, near Lukiškės Square, at the beginning of 1913. The architect Mikhail Prozorov was a member of the Society, which also included prominent Vilnius merchants and landlords. Its construction was funded by a loan from the Vilnius Land Bank. There were six shops on the ground floor, the club chambers above them, and a luxurious meeting and concert hall on the second floor. The site of the Merchants' Club on a street corner determined the asymmetrical volume of the building and the cylindrical Baroque tower.
|Address||Gedimino Prospektas 35, 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-storey windows over it, rising in perfect order. The plan of the building is interesting, asymmetrical and broken, and a projection at the back is rounded. This reserved but formal building housed the Vilnius City Committee of the Lithuanian Communist Party from 1944. An annex was added according to a design by the architect Dalia Dremiene when it was renovated in 1980. This was one of the first public buildings in interwar Vilnius to be constructed in the spirit of Modernism.
|Address||Gedimino Prospektas 36, Vilnius|
Seimas - Parliament Building
In 1969, it was decided that the most important building of state authority should be built 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 was intended to 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). The main semantic content of the building was provided by the tectonics of the façade. The massive upper floor emphasized the importance of the building in terms of both composition and symbolism. The lower part of the building was also rhythmical, divided by prominent supports surrounding the entire façade 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
The architect of the former building of the Ministry of Agriculture was Vladimir Afanasyev, who was educated at the St. Petersburg Academy of Art, and arrived in Vilnius after the Second World War. 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-storey wing continues the line of buildings on the street. Only the Gedimino Prospektas facade is decorated. It features a darker ground floor and main entrance, the decoration of which (with mouldings relating to agriculture) 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. The windows are separated rhythmically by pilasters. The building is typical for the epoch, and does not stand out in the Historicist context of the architecture og Gedimino Prospektas.
|Address||Gedimino Prospektas 56, Vilnius|