Architecture firms across the globe proposed their concepts for Lithuania's new National Science and Innovation Centre in Kaunas, also known as Science Island. With 144 competing teams representing 44 countries, the Science Island Design Competition was deemed as the country's most popular design contest by far. For a country with a population of approximately 2.9 million (as of 2013), the €25 million Centre is quite a national milestone.
The competition officially concluded when Lithuania Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius announced the three winning firms, who each received a €15,000 honorarium (ranked in order):
- SMAR Architecture Studio from Australia and Spain
- SimpsonHaugh and Partners from the UK
- Donghua Chen Studio from China
Located on the 33-hectare Science Island, the 13,000 square-meter Centre will educate the public on recent scientific and global technologies and achievements, mostly in environmental science and ecology — all in hopes to “nurture a super-smart society attuned to learning, innovation and creativity,” as Lithuania Vice-Minister of Science and Education Svetlana Kauzonienė described.
Read on for more and for a glimpse of the top three schemes.
(cover image) SMAR Architecture Studio
SimpsonHaugh and Partners
Donghua Chen Studio
The three firms are considered to be the competition winners, but the Kaunas City Municipality will only commission one firm to develop the design. As of now, construction of the Centre is expected to start in 2017, with an opening scheduled for early 2018.
“We have been delighted by the response of the international architectural community to this project,” Prime Minister Butkevičius said in a statement. “The contest has been the most popular in Lithuania’s history: one hundred and forty-four teams entered from forty-four countries. He called the project being of “great national importance” for the country.
Honorable mentions were also awarded to five other firms: Amid.cero9 / Elsewhere (Spain); Mark Foster Gage Architects (USA); Salon (Turkey); UAB Architektų biuras G. Natkevičius ir partneriai (Lithuania); and Wolfgang Tschapeller ZTGmbH (Austria).
All images courtesy of Malcolm Reading Consultants.
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