After logging in, you'll be able to save your favorite works of art in this section. Read more about “My Collection” in the “Project” section.
Push slider to the right
Registration successful.
Username already exists!
Passwords do not match!
Slider error
You are almost done. To activate your account, please click the link in the activation email which has been sent to your email address ( )
A new password has been sent.
Stagnation and Diversity in Residential Architecture
Marija Drėmaitė
As mass-produced residential construction became dominated by standard 5, 9 or 12-story apartment building designs, architects in the 1980s began to search for greater diversity in microdistrict planning, not only in terms of color, finishing, or composition, but also by employing different volumetric accents. These included sixteen-story tower apartment buildings meant to provide a unique look to microdistricts, serving as the centerpiece of newly built neighborhoods.
The first experimental 16-story apartment building was built using monolithic ceramsite concrete in the Vilnius suburb of Lazdynai in 1980, designed by architect Česlovas Mazūras. In 1981-1982, architects Bronius Krūminis and Danas Ruseckas designed 13 and 16-story monolithic reinforced concrete apartment buildings with rounded balconies for the Šeškinė residential district. „Vilnius. Šeškinė. Monolitiniai akcentai šalia kalvoto ozo“,, 2011 12 22.
From an architectural perspective, each centerpiece tower in a larger group of structures was meant to be unique, which explains the decision to use monolithic reinforced concrete, considered less expensive and more suitable for tower buildings. In the end, however, poor construction quality, inferior materials and incomplete structures conveyed a sad image of squalor.
It would be incorrect to suggest that there were no alternatives in Lithuania to mass-produced residential panel construction. In 1978, 70 percent of residential housing within the Construction Ministry system was built using prefabricated panels, but the remaining 30 percent was constructed using traditional, non-industrial methods. In other words, Soviet Lithuania still retained a rather large diversity of residential housing styles and forms. Compared to the singe-family and mass-produced panel housing construction in the West, however, Lithuania clearly had fewer individual homes. In an effort to conserve space in urban areas, the construction of singe-family homes had been prohibited since the 1950s in larger cities (Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda) and in resort zones (Palanga, Druskininkai, Neringa, and Birštonas).
This prohibition, however, encouraged the construction of so-called cooperative apartments throughout the Soviet Union. Employees and members of more prosperous enterprises and organizations were allowed to contribute individual savings to accelerate and improve residential housing construction. How such personal savings were accumulated was never looked into. Housing cooperatives began to appear in Vilnius in 1962 with the construction of the first cooperative apartment buildings. The structures were required to be built using standardized designs, but architects were permitted to utilize better construction materials (such as brick walls) and more convenient apartment layouts (larger kitchens, service rooms, etc.). A cooperative apartment building designed by Aida Lėckienė in Vilnius for the LSSR Council of Ministers consisted of 5-8 story sections with 3-5 room apartment units, higher ceilings, increased space for bedrooms and service rooms, the inclusion of well-lit pantries near kitchens, and balconies outfitted with special flooring. With time, more and more cooperatives began seeking permission for custom-designed buildings, and architects in the cooperative construction sector enjoyed a greater opportunity to implement unconventional and creative solutions for residential housing.
Representatives of academia and the cultural sector had many privileges in housing matters. As socialism modernized, artistic and creative organizations were particularly clever in exploiting incentives to build cooperative housing and the option to construct custom-designed residential housing with adjoining studios, allowing them to add much coveted additional living space. In one example, a group of artists and writers established the “Menas” (Art) housing cooperative and used it not only to secure a plot of land adjacent to the Sapieginė Forest in Vilnius, but also to obtain official permission to build a custom-designed structure in 1967. The complex, designed by Algimantas Mačiulis and consisting of 28 cottage-type units, had to be considerably simplified during the construction process, but each residence retained its own private street entrance, a first floor studio, complete with fireplace, storage closet and garage, and four additional rooms and a kitchen on the second and third floors.
The original approach taken by arts organizations in the late Soviet period was also evident in a complex designed by Algirdas Kaušpėdas, built in 1985 in Kaunas, on Plieno and Prancūzų Streets, consisting of a group of postmodern cottage-type block houses. The success of this avant-garde project, designed for the Architects’ Hall cooperative, was ensured by including several influential members of the Kaunas Housing Construction Factory and Construction Affairs Committee in the cooperative. Kaušpėdas himself says that the cottage design was nearly inconceivable at the time:
I devoted my entire soul to make this happen. But many around me kept saying that it was a utopian vision, that everything would come to an end once someone eventually complained about it and had it shut down. Maybe we were lucky, or maybe we very successfully “strategized” to invite influential partners into the cooperative, including the Kaunas Housing Construction Factory. We also took advantage of my father’s connections, since he was already a fairly high-ranking official, the head of the Communications Construction Trust. In other words, we engaged in bureaucratic lobbying from all sides. And we succeeded. The cooperative was mostly made up of architects (around 9), while the other members were from the Housing Construction Factory. Until then, we architects had been living in dormitories. Moving from a dormitory to a five-room cottage was something else. It was quite an event. „Belaukiant naujo maišto“. Marijos Drėmaitės interviu su Algirdu Kaušpėdu, in: Maištaujantis oportunizmas, sudarė Marija Drėmaitė, Viktorija Šiaulytė, Vilnius: Architektūros leidinių fondas, 2014.
Overall, residential housing saw an increase in variety in the 1980s. New designs were unveiled by Kaunas architects such as Rimantas Zimkus, Edmundas Andrašius and Gražina Miškinienė, who designed the first so-called “screened buildings” (in 1982 and 1983-1988), which allowed for both a more convenient layout of apartment units (with service areas and kitchens facing the street, while bedrooms and living rooms looked out on interior courtyards) and a return to the use of traditional construction materials such as red and yellow bricks, enhancing the expressivity of residential complex architecture. „Eksperimentiniai daugiabučiai. Ekraniniai gyvenamieji namai Kaune“,, 2012 08 28.


Write a comment
No comments.

Sources and links

„Belaukiant naujo maišto“. Marijos Drėmaitės interviu su Algirdu Kaušpėdu
Maištaujantis oportunizmas, sudarė Marija Drėmaitė, Viktorija Šiaulytė, Vilnius: Architektūros leidinių fondas, 2014
„Eksperimentiniai daugiabučiai. Ekraniniai gyvenamieji namai Kaune“, 2012 08 28
„Vilnius. Šeškinė. Monolitiniai akcentai šalia kalvoto ozo“, 2011 12 22
[[item.description]] [[item.details]]
You have subscribed successfully.
Patikrinkite savo pašto dėžutę ir paspauskite nat gautos nuorods norėdami patvirtinti užsakymą.