The House of Lights
National Concert Hall in Vilnius, "Tautos Namai"
2019, Vilnius, Lithuania
LAND AREA 90 000 sq.m
BUILT UP AREA 17 000 sq.m
Creating a new cultural building in a capital can be either an epiphenomenon or a founding event for a future collective memory.
By the immediate appropriation of the place which will make the inhabitants and the users the best ambassadors of the project, by the new activities generated, what could have been only a simple building becomes a monument, with strong symbolic and strategic value. It seems to us that Vilnius city, the Lithuanian State, are waiting for this alchemy to take place with the creation of a Concert Hall in Vilnius. The best evidence is already the choice of the location, Tauras Hill, which unites history and geography, the two components that justify and explain the creation and development of cities. Geography, of course, makes Tauras Hill both a marker in the landscape and an urban element since it is both the capitol and acropolis of Vilnius, uniting the history with the cemetery.
 The Tauras Hill, with the National Concert Hall project, will continue to embody the past - respecting it - and will become the symbol of the resilience of Vilnius, active capital, alive, creative, open to innovation, exemplary, environmental, and bold in its architectural choices. "The House of Lights" project responds to all these issues and bears all these values. The Tauras Hill is an object in itself, a place for walking and contemplation, whose silhouette belongs to the history of the city. 
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Ana-Marti Baron
Landscape consultants
Acoustic solutions
Michèle Larue-Charlus
Urban, Cultural and Political Strategy
Territory Urban Planning and Mobility
Engineering and technical systems
The project chose to respect the site and its genius loci considering that it is the site which makes the project and not the opposite, because, in the present case, the site is powerful. It is therefore more of an osmosis, a fusion with the hill that has been sought after. 
This fusion reinforces the strength of the hill and the strength of the building. Creating a dialogue with geography that doubles as a dialogue with history. The project enters into a dialectical dialogue with history.  The history of Vilnius, like that of a large majority of European capitals, was particularly painful in the 20th century. It should not be erased or forgotten because the values of the present also feed on the dramas of the past and nothing is built from the tabularasa. The resilience of a city is measured by its ability to overcome a shock, to overcome it and to make a development difference and superior to the state prior to the shock. This is why the project proposes to reuse the building materials that will be destroyed and integrate them into future buildings, thus operating a dialectic with high symbolic value and proving that the ruins of the past can help build the future. 
By its imposing dimensions certainly, but even more by its organic, warm architecture (the concrete, the brick stones, and the wood), in opposition to the monolithic architectures which marked the past of the City. Rather than one building whose massiveness would have been poorly tuned with the multiplicity’s expected uses, we made the choice of fragmentation with six buildings of different scales thus materializing the concept of freedom. These buildings linked together by Tauras Hill at the lower level and a piazza at the upper level, also creating a physical link between the cemetery and the city through the project. Beyond the strong symbolic charge, a true urban strategy put in place due to the spatial organization retained and the architectural choices selected. 
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Whether the project is seen from a distance or lived from the inside, it is like a microcosm of the city that presents itself, with the variety, diversity and intensity that make the qualities of lively productive cities. 
The true genius of a building is more in its capacity to offer comfort, pleasure and fluidity to those who frequent it than in the pencil line of the architect. For us, the heart of the device, the patella of the proposed urban ensemble is the elevated piazza. Offering a water mirror, a big terrace and an open air theater, it will operate like an agora, allowing encounters, unpublished assemblies and the diversity of artistic forms. It will also function as a pole of exchanges open on the project, on the park and on the city. It will function as a truly inclusive place, a public space in which communities of interests or different values can interact together smoothly and exchange freely. 
The concert hall is also the demonstrator of a happy ecology sublimating the surrounding landscape and simply and judiciously managing the issue of circulation. Breakthroughs opening visual cones on the city will contribute to make concert hall a precious "postcard". 
The site will be perfectly accessible by public transport thanks to the bus and trolley bus lines. Escalators and elevators will allow people with reduced mobility to access without difficulty. A cycle track along the concert hall with pedestrian pathways will be developed on the hill, protecting it from automobile flows. We recommend stand-alone or autonomous shuttles on the site, allowing people who do not wish or cannot walk (without being disabled) access to the concert hall. The future Vilnius Concert Hall is therefore a major project for the city, whether in symbolic terms or in terms of urban strategy. 
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