Complex of Kaunas National Drama Theatre between Laisves Ave. and Kestucio Str.
The object is in the historical part of Kaunas – the New Town (unique cultural property code – 22149). This territory has an established urban structure type and network, roads, streets, squares, entrances, access roads, paths, their types, routes, pavements, linden alley in Laisves Ave., spatial structure with the main historical functional and compositional centres: St. Michael the Archangel (Garrison) Church (20904), situated in Nepriklausomybes Sq., Laisves Alley – the main composition axis of the New Town, regular perimeter construction with buildings of 1-4 storeys of the second half of the 19th-20th century, open spaces – squares, centrepieces.
The main entrance into the Kaunas National Drama Theatre is from Laisves Avenue. This pedestrian street is very important for Kaunas New Town as a street connecting the New Town and the Old Town, suited exceptionally for pedestrian traffic. However, only a small part of the Drama theatre is oriented towards this street, as the main part of the premises of the theatre are situated inside the quarter between Kestucio Str. and Laisves Ave.
History: in 1928 the design bureau of Vladimiras Dubeneckis received an order from Berelis Kupricas for a cinema theatre design at Laisves Avenue 41 (presently – 71). It was carried out by engineer-architect Klaudijus Dusauskas-Dus. A modern two storey building was erected at Laisves Avenue, in the yard of the present Drama Theatre. The original passage fused with the building of art deco forms. There were 800 seats in a spacious 24 m x 14 m cinema theatre hall. Spectator lounges were installed on the second storey of the hall. The foyer extended through two storeys: on the first there were ticket offices and on the second a gallery decorated with stylish columns. The architect subtly adapted the new building to the idea of integral architecture of Laisves Avenue. In 1950 a decision was made to expand and renovate the building.
In 1956 renovation of the building (then called Kaunas Theatre of the Young Theatre-goer) according to project by Kazimieras Bučas. Only the core of the plan of the previous cinema remained – the hall and the foyer. The stage, the foyer and the lounge were reconstructed from the ground up, auxiliary premises and stage workshop were newly installed. The main entrance was moved to the side of Laisves Avenue, thus successfully solving the problem of access to the theatre. Administrative rooms of the theatre were installed above the entrance. Structural and laconic expression made this monumental four storey building distinctive in the context of social realism architecture. The façade was decorated with architectonic human head figures.
After Lithuania restored independence in 1990, premises of the previous fur tailor shop “Raudonoji vėliava” were added and used. They were adapted for small stages (Kestucio Str.). In 2005, reconstruction of buildings according to project by architect Algimantas Kančas began. Reconstruction included expansion of make-up rooms, rehearsal rooms in the attic and a guest hotel. The lounge space was expanded and opened. The Small Stage and a gallery was installed in the fifth storey above the administrative part of the building, in the direction of Laisves Avenue. Theatre workshop was also renewed. Currently, with most of the reconstruction work complete, the Great Hall and its stage are being renewed. In 2010 the theatre building was acknowledged a cultural property status as one of the most notable examples of socialist realism architecture of the 50s of the 20th century. The valuable architectural items of the Drama Theatre to be preserved include the columns, the pilasters, the façade, the sculptures, balconies of the hall, plaster mouldings of the interior, column and pilaster caps, etc. (http://galerija.kvb.lt/index.php?q=galerija&g2_itemId=11254)
Goal of the project is to expand the recently reconstructed building of Kaunas National Drama Theatre with new halls for viewers and rehearsals, by developing informal out-door and indoor spaces inside the present infrastructure of the quarter, by demolishing inferior buildings and erecting new ones. The project should address the necessity for vehicle parking spaces and to create a 24-hour operating space, supplementing Laisves Ave. and link to Kestucio Street. Authors of the project are free to determine the size, the programme and the operating scenario of the object.
Physical demand program for this task is free to choose by the author’s decision – you can decide on yourself what size, program and scenario building it should be. But have in mind the case study situation. Consider it fair to look for standards from relevant literature or similar objects
Refer to ARCHITECTURAL themes map section number – 5