Creation of the World (III), 1905–6

The Contest

The Kaunas M.K. Čiurlionis Concert Centre International Design Contest was a one-stage anonymous competitive process to select three finalist practices who will each be awarded an honorarium of €25,000.

Following the conclusion of the competition, it is the intention that the three winners will enter into a Negotiated Procedure without Publication of a Contract Notice with Kaunas City Municipality, who will decide on a single, preferred bidder who will be awarded the contract and take the project through the design stages.

The competition was organised by London-based competition specialists Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC). MRC’s role in the competition included writing the brief and competition materials, consulting with stakeholders and ensuring absolute independence in the competition process.

Please note the competition closed on 6 September 2017. The three finalist practices were announced on 28 September 2017.

The project’s total allotted building-related cost is €30m, including taxes. The total site area for the building and public realm is 39,908m2. While no specific footprint size was given, it is anticipated that the area to be built on will amount to 20-25% of the site, or 7,980–9,977m2, with the remainder devoted to public space, including a new public park. The design of the Concert Centre and park should not negate the potential for future further development on the site, if or when appropriate.

Because the greater part of the site falls within the visual protection zone of the Old Town of Kaunas, a maximum building height was set at 25m above the site datum line of 27m above sea level.

The contest required teams to produce concept designs in physical and digital forms as six presentation boards covering:

  1. Cityscape & Site Masterplan
  2. Architectural and Design Quality – External, including landscape design
  3. Architectural and Design Quality of the Public Spaces
  4. Architectural and Design Quality of the Concert Halls
  5. Usability – Space Planning, Operations and Logistics
  6. Sustainability

In addition, competitors were asked to provide registration details and submit self-certification of compliance with the minimum qualification requirements.

Please read the Competition Conditions for full details of the project and contest.

Key Themes and Objectives

The purpose of the design contest was to:

  • Inspire a concept design for the new Kaunas M.K. Čiurlionis Concert Centre that creates an emblematic place within the heart of Kaunas, revitalising the Aleksotas neighbourhood on the southern bank of the Nemunas River. The design needs to provide a main auditorium for top-tier musical performances, as well as multi-functional spaces for conferences, congresses and symposia.

The design for the new building should:

  • Create an exceptional civic building that will be a world-class modern concert venue as well as a place for international or national symposia, congresses and conferences.
  • Establish the identity of the new Centre: welcoming to diverse and local audiences and dedicated to excellence in hosting both cultural and commercial forums.
  • Revitalise this former industrial area on the southern bank of the Nemunas River through authentic cultural place-making that recreates the city’s relationship with the river and creates a friendly urbanity on the street.
  • Envision a new civic realm that is shared with the local community, enriches the city’s network of public spaces and stimulates new interest in the potential of the riverside areas.
  • Maximise views to the Old and New Towns without compromising the city skyline when seen from the north bank.
  • Honour the building’s namesake – Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis – a gifted polymath.
  • Raise the profile of Kaunas regionally and internationally.
  • Consider routes to the new Centre in the light of a proposed new pedestrian bridge from the forthcoming Science Island development, a proposed road-widening scheme and easy access to the Baltic highway.
  • Be an exemplar of sustainability.
  • Ensure the experience of visiting and navigating the Centre is equal for all.

Anticipated Competition Timeline

23 June 2017Competition launch
29 August 2017Deadline for Q&As
31 August 2017Final Q&A published
6 September 2017Competition deadline
Late September 2017Winners announced
Early 2019Construction begins
Late 2021Opening of the Concert Centre