Architects put forward their visions for Vilnius Žalgiris Stadium and Sports Palace

Architects put forward their visions for Vilnius Žalgiris Stadium and Sports Palace
Palace of Concerts and Sports in Vilnius (Image: Julius under a CC licence)

4 August 2015

The Lithuanian Architects Union on Monday hosted a public forum about the redevelopment of the Žalgiris Stadium and the Palace of Concerts and Sports (Sports Palace), two significant structures in the centre of the Lithuanian capital.

The Žalgiris Stadium, which formerly hosted up to 15,000 spectators for football matches, has not been used for decades. The Sports Palace, which was once a prime location for sports events and concerts, has been closed since 2004.

During the discussion, five teams presented their visions for redeveloping the Žalgiris Stadium site: Komanda G, UAB Eventus Pro, Studio PuPa, Ambraso Architektų Biuras, and UAB Sweco Lietuva. The teams of architects were given the task of coming up with a new concept for the stadium site, which adjoins the Sports Palace. While the stadium will be demolished, the Sports Palace, listed as protected property, will be converted into a conference centre.

The architects needed to take into account the impact of the redevelopment on the existing residential buildings in the area and the complex of courthouses that is soon to be built. During the discussion, Arvydas Avulis, CEO of Hanner which owns the 6.6-hectare plot, said that the new developments should look “representative and impressive” and attract the support of Vilnius residents.

Architect Sigitas Kuncevičius, who is involved in the Sports Palace project, believes that some of the original design elements must be preserved, such as the main concert hall. He suggests that the Sports Palace should become a multi-purpose venue, also hosting concerts and theatre performances so that the building does not become a “burden on the state”. The architect specified potential plans to build an annex with a universal “black box”, which could be used for various events, including circus shows.

Mr Kuncevičius expressed delight at the restoration of what was formerly one of the best concert halls in the city.

“Pity that it was removed from the city life. The sooner we return the hall, the sooner we will enrich our cultural life,” he stated.