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THE VOICE OF INTERNATIONAL LITHUANIA

17 August 2017
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Architecture carries
the identity of Lithuania
on its shoulders


ABOVE: My first project in Vilnius Old Town, Dominikonų g. 5 , 1993-1995.
See also
http://vilnews.com/?p=1549.

I had seen a lot of great architecture around the world before I came to Lithuania more than 20 years ago. Yet I had never seen a country whose identity was carried by architecture. Most countries have their unique architecture and national monuments, but here I was suddenly faced with a nation where many centuries of history and life were clearly recorded in the buildings and the surrounding, unique urban environment called the Vilnius Old Town. Walking through this exciting history book is what increasingly makes Lithuania's traditional architecture a magnet for visitors from around the world. For it is precisely here that they find the essence of architecture; experiencing that buildings, styles, streets, squares, ornaments play in perfect harmony with human life and activities, in a symbiosis found nowhere else in the world.

Text: Aage Myhre, VilNews Editor-in-Chief/architect
aage.myhre@VilNews.com 

Vilnius is called the "world's most Italian city outside Italy," and also "Europe's most baroque city north of the Alps". Before the Baroque made ​​its appearance, Vilnius was considered one of the world's three leading Renaissance cities (!), in competition with Milan and Florence. However, although the Lithuanian architecture has its roots in Italy, it also developed its own distinctive character, which now once again delights and surprises visitors from near and far.

Unfortunately, this wonderful national heritage was not preserved and continued too well during the years when Lithuania was occupied by the Soviet Union. Also today, there is devoted minimal attention to this heritage, the very identity of Lithuania. Buildings and environments that have been completed over the past 20 years have too much become pale, indifferent copies of Western countries 'modernist architecture' instead of development projects based on Lithuania's phenomenal genuine, beautiful traditions in architecture and living environments.

Fortunately, there are still ancient urban districts and buildings throughout the country that remind us about what a proud and powerful identity Lithuania had in the past. And thankfully, authorities and many others understand that these fine monuments must be preserved as the proud bearers of identity they still are. 
Bravo!

But it surprises me greatly that today's architects and planners are not willing to listen to Lithuania's own ‘identity-music’ instead of following in the footsteps of 
the West’s often banalising, so-called modern architecture. 

A Lithuanian architecture that honour and take into account the nation's identity would not cost more, it would make the new building environments more attractive and warm, and it would show the world that Lithuania is a proud nation with deep roots in culture and history, virtually unparalleled. So why wait?

Let me exemplify what I have in mind...

Read more...

Category : Featured black / Front page



VilNews e-magazine is published in Vilnius, Lithuania. Editor-in-Chief: Mr. Aage Myhre. Inquires to the editorseditor@VilNews.com.
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