SBA’s renewed Vienybė Square in Kaunas among the best in prestigious architecture competition

Kaunas’ Vienybė Square, which was renewed by SBA Group this spring with the project being created by the German company 3deluxe, has entered the top 25 in the Rebirth Project category of the international competition Dezeen Awards. This year, a total of 4,300 projects from around the world were nominated for this competition, and the winners will be announced in October.

“We are very delighted that this charming project in Lithuania is globally creating so much positive attention. Getting into the focus of design opinion leaders like "Dezeen" shows the relevance of the project. The transformation of cities into more human spaces is one of the big cultural challenges of the next years. In this context, the Vienybes Plaza is for certain a pioneering project,”3deluxe creative director Dieter Brell says.

“The international awards and nominations received confirm that we have gifted the temporary capital an exceptional project which is valued around the world, and Kaunas can take pride in this. One of the main goals in renewing Vienybė Square was the aim of transforming it from a transit space to the most important axis of the city’s life that one wants to be in. Currently, seeing so much life, movement and sound in Vienybė Square, we can say with certainty that our goal was achieved and it has truly been reborn and become a square of happy people,” said Lionginas Šepetys, the board chairman of SBA company Urban Inventors, which renewed the square.

 The architectural concept for the Vienybė Square, which spans the area next to the Vytautas Magnus War Museum, the Freedom Monument and the BLC business centre that is being developed by SBA, was created by the German architecture and design firm 3deluxe, and the implementation project was prepared alongside architect Rimantas Giedraitis. A year and a half ago, Vienybė Square’s architectural concept earned the highest accolade in the international Design Council awards, which were founded by the German Bundestag, and the project was declared the winner in the City Space category by an international jury comprised of well-known architects and designers. This was the first time in history a project implemented in Lithuania received such recognition.

Vienybė Square was reconstructed by SBA Group, which invested around 10 million euros into the project, and historically this is the largest investment in a central square project in Lithuania. Kaunas municipality contributed to the project by purchasing granite pavement, and the combined amount invested by SBA in the square and the nearby BLC 2 business centre is calculated at around 40 million euros.

Two fountains where children play during summer have been installed in the renewed square, and in its green zones, a dozen mature trees were planted as well as 5,000 various plants, while senior citizens and mothers with children can enjoy the chance to rest on nearby benches. The hand moulded concrete sculptures are used by extreme sports fans, using bikes, scooters, roller skates and skateboards to perform various tricks, and the restaurant terraces settled in the BLC business centre next to the square hold salsa and lindy hop dance nights.

The Dezeen Awards competition is hosted by one of the world’s most popular architecture, design and interior magazines and portals Dezeen, with architecture, design and interior projects evaluated in a total of 42 categories. This year, works from 84 countries on six continents have been presented, and the best works in each category will be selected by a recognised jury commission, which features 75 of world-renowned architects, designers and artists. Among them is Daniel Libeskind, the planner of the MO Museum in Vilnius. The main criteria for evaluation are exceptional beauty, innovation, nature conservation, and practicality.

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