Daniel Libeskind has released the design for a 33,400 square-foot, contemporary art center in the heart of Vilnius, Lithuania, a city famous for its baroque architecture and medieval old town. The center, which represents Vilnius past and present, was designed by Studio Libeskind in partnership with Do Architects and Baltic Engineers. It is the first center ever to be dedicated solely to modern and contemporary art by Lithuanian artists.
“We wanted to create a museum for the people of Lithuania, and also give this collection a home and an international audience,” Viktoras Butkus, co-founder of the nonprofit Modern Art Center (MAC), said in a statement. “This collection is about the cultural legacy of the country. Libeskind’s work is expressive, innovative, and, most importantly, has the power to tell the story of the past while connecting to the future of the city.”
The museum will house works solely by Lithuanian artists, ranging from the 1960s through the present day. Works include: Vincas Kisarauskas “Falling Broken Man” 1965; Arvydas Saltenis “Woman” 1972; and Kostas Dereskevicius “Mailboxes” 1987; photographs by Antanas Sutkus “J. P. Sartre ir S. de Beauvoir in Lithuania”; video by Deimantas Narkevicius “The Dud Effect.”
Being a Modern Art Center in a historic city, the design takes into account the local architecture both formally and materially, according to Libeskind. For instance, the structure is comprised of two intertwining forms that create indoor and outdoor spaces, while the exterior is clad in white concrete—already a prevalent material throughout the city.
An interior courtyard cuts through the entire building, featuring a staircase that runs to a public planted roof and sculpture garden which connect to the street-level piazza.
“The Modern Art Center not only creates a home for this extraordinary collection, but the design connects the galleries to the street and the urban fabric—giving the citizens of Vilnius a new cultural center infused with public space,” Libeskind said in a statement.
The design calls for floor-to-ceiling glazing that will flood the interior galleries with light, and a 16-foot cantilever will provide shading, regulating the southern facing exposure. The north side has a three-story, 33-foot-tall glazed entrance, which opens into a sun-filled lobby.
An open floor plan connects all the galleries, in which 10,800 square-feet are dedicated to both permanent and temporary exhibitions. The design also includes a café, bookstore, educational areas, auditorium, and a storage and administrative space.
The Lithuanian Modern Art Center will begin construction in 2017 and should be complete by early 2019.