KAUNAS M.K. ČIURLIONIS CONCERT CENTRE
Location: Kaunas, Lithuania
Type: International Competition, Semi-Finalist
Structure: Concrete structure clad with oxidized slate shingles
Team: Ben James, Alihan Oney, Angela Huang, Alexander Tahinos, Joseph Giampietro, Mor Segal, Yang Li, Yi Zhu
The M.K. Čiurlionis Concert Centre is sited across the Nemunas river from the historic city of Kaunas. The building consists of two distinct masses that touch each other through a bridge. This strategy creates a single building with two faces, two orientations, two desires for the aesthetic experience of the site and building.
From Minkovskių Street the appearance of the building is of two solid masses alluding to the industrial vernacular located just down river. The principal arrival is through a courtyard between the two buildings passing under the moment where they touch. Upon crossing this threshold, the character of the building completely transforms. A river courtyard is framed by large glazed facades conceived as abstract cuts through the rough concrete and reclaimed slate shingles. These highly reflective facades create iconic reflective figures during the day and floating apparitions at night.
The primary entry ascends an exterior staircase into the main lobby. The circulation from the lobby to the auditoriums is a highly choreographed sequence of spaces which vary from low and horizontal to tall and vertical, from abstract white plaster, to intensely material. The division of the program into two separate buildings for two different types of performance spaces allows the auditoriums to operate independently of each other. The bridge/arch element is the conceptual hinge of the project. It is simultaneously an element that frames the city; a threshold breaking the character of the two courtyards; a central public meeting location; and the circulatory link between the two auditoriums.
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