It’s official: the Spanish design won the competition for the National Concert Hall


The architectural idea of the new symbol of Vilnius on the Tauras Hill was finally presented – out of all the ideas for the National Concert Hall offered by nearly 250 architects from around the world, the idea of the Spanish team “Arquivio Architects” was announced the winner of the competition. The concept offered by the Spanish company was to integrate the object into the unique environment surrounding it as naturally as possible. The architects offered building on the Tauras Hill a few separate parts of the building, which would be interconnected by an open ground floor, creating a “green corridor”, and setting up a great and a small concert hall in the building. The design also sensitively incorporates the territory of the Lutheran Garden and the park on the Tauras Hill.

The architects received a prize of EUR 60 000. The international competition received a huge interest, with 248 architectural companies from the US, Japan, Germany, Great Britain, New Zealand, Finland, China, Brazil and other countries participating in it. 21 teams of Lithuanian architects submitted their works for the competition. The winners of the first three places from Spain, France and Lithuania attended the solemn awards ceremony held in T Park, Vilnius; leaders of the country and the city, members of the Seimas, representatives of architectural and cultural communities visited the exhibition of all the competing ideas.

I place

“The idea of the Home of Nation envisioned by the creators of our state 100 years ago, is becoming the reality step by step. Embodying the Home of Nation today allows perceiving this palace as a link between the year 1918 and the Republic of today as the embodiment and evolution of continuity. I would very much like to see the Home as an inviting place open to everyone, a place of harmony for people of different generations, views and tastes, bringing together Lithuanian citizens into a single creative space where we could create our own Home of Nation together”, says Mindaugas Kvietkauskas, the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania.

“I believe that the selected architecture of the building is unique, memorable, inspiring and will become a new sign of the city – sounding, inspiring and reflective of the era. The National Concert Hall the “Home of Nation” is one of the most important cultural objects planned for us all in the capital. After more than 100 years, all of us will implement the idea of the patriarchs of our nation. There will be spectacular, world-renowned cultural events held in the hall, and this space can become the focal point of European culture”, says the Mayor Remigijus Šimašius.

The winning team “Arquivio Architects” has 10 creators. Non-published negotiation for a design service agreement will be held with the winners, negotiating the price of design of the National Concert Hall and the duration of the design process. The plan is to have an agreement for the technical design of the hall signed with the winner of the competition as soon as this year.

“The only constraint in competitions like this is we ourselves as professionals. We take a very responsible look at the entire process, the purpose, the expectations and desires, the deadlines, the correlation of the created model with the city and its environment, its integration into the landscape. You know, our work is like basketball – it requires a lot of quality work, a lot of skills and success. Let this achievement be our gift to the city of Vilnius and the entire country,” said Daniel Fraile, the representative of the winner of the best architectural idea “Arquivio Architects”.

Xander Thomas Vermeulen Windsant, a member of the international jury, announced the winners, and the Mayor of Vilnius presented them with symbolic checks. The second place went to the French company “Fres Architects and Planners”, and the Lithuanian team of architects “Paleko Archstudija” ranked third. The second-place winners received a prize of EUR 40 000 and the third place won EUR 20 000. The fourth honourable place went to “SMAR Architecture Studio” from Australia.

“When evaluating the designs, we were well aware of the fact that this is a historic moment for the city of Vilnius, and a great responsibility and honour for the jury to evaluate ideas from all around the world,” a member of the jury Xander Thomas Vermeulen Windsant shared his impressions.

“Congratulations on behalf of the International Union of Architects. An international competition is both an initiative, a political will, a respective budget, and much more – it requires knowledge, experience, cooperation, courage and responsibility. It is a solid investment into the future, but the benefits reaped will be even greater. I want to thank everyone, who contributed to the project’s implementation, who laid bridges between Vilnius and architects of the world,” Dragas Serban Ion Tiganas, the Secretary General of the International Union of Architects, said in his congratulations speech.

The jury pointed out that the winning design stands out for a sensitive integration of the designed building into the context, linking the old cemetery to the Tauras Hill. The top of the Hill is opened up for the city and the river, the three spaces and new squares in the design clearly and appropriately convey the comprehensive relation between the city and the interior spaces, while public spaces of the interior are clear and encourage communication. This is very valuable to all residents and guests of Vilnius.

“The current building will be replaced by an object of a unique architectural design, creating a cultural space of a new quality. By breaking down the volume of the building, the authors of the design managed to create new functional and visual links between the Lutheran Square and the Tauras Hill, offering new possibilities to take a look at the lower terrace of the New Town and the Old Town, creating new public spaces. Obviously, a long and responsible work still awaits the authors of the building for us to be able to have an expressive, modern and iconic object”, said Mindaugas Pakalnis, the Chief Architect of the city.

According to the terms of the competition, the new building will have a great hall with up to 1 700 seats and a small hall seating 500 people, also cafes, a spacious lobby overlooking a spectacular skyline of the city and facilities for a variety of other cultural activities. The estimated budget for the concert hall design service and construction works is 52 million euros. This amount includes all costs relating to the design, construction, installation of the object, and the arrangement of the land plot around it.

The building of the former Trade Union Palace built on the Tauras Hill 56 years ago will soon be demolished. The municipality will arrange access to the Concert Hall and the adjacent territory of the Lutheran Gardens, the Vilnius Evangelical Old Cemetery Complex. The total value of landscaping projects, including EU support, is about 14 million euros.

The architectural competition was organized in cooperation with the International Union of Architects, the Lithuanian Union of Architects and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania.

Residents and guests of Vilnius are invited to see all 248 architectural ideas for the National Concert Hall at the exhibition opened up in T Park (Pelesos g. 1), from the 20th of September till the 13th of October, Monday through Friday noon to 8 p.m. and on weekends 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Visualisations of prize winners:

All ideas presented for the competition:

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