Three firms were announced by the government of Lithuania as winners of a competition, organized by Malcolm Reading Consultants, to design a new National Science and Innovation Center, to be known colloquially as “Science Island,” in the city of Kaunas, Lithuania. The competition saw entries from 144 teams, making it the largest design content ever held in Lithuania
The science center will be located on a 13,000 square meter (140,000 square foot) site on Nemunas Island in the Neman River, across the Žalgiris Arena and within short walking distance to Kaunas’ historic Centras district inside the UNESCO designated and celebrated university city, Kaunas.
The new €25M complex will focus on research on the environment and ecosystems and “celebrate recent achievements in science and global technologies with the aim of inspiring visitors to expand their knowledge and support innovation”.
The three winning teams are: SMAR Architecture Studio (Australia and Spain), SimpsonHaugh and Partners (UK) and Donghua Chen Studio (China).
While the construction on the Science Island project will begin in 2017, with an opening date anticipated in early 2018, the three teams will now undergo a Negotiated Procedure without Publication of a Contract Notice with Kaunas City Municipality, who will be selecting one of the designed to be realized through to completion on site. Each of the 3 winners will receive an honorarium of €15,000.
Additionally, five honorable mentions were also awarded to the following practices:
• Amid.cero9 / Elsewhere (Spain)
• Mark Foster Gage Architects (USA)
• Salon (Turkey)
• UAB Architektų biuras G. Natkevičius ir partneriai (Lithuania)
• Wolfgang Tschapeller ZT GmbH (Austria)
The competition jury included Audrius Ambrasas, Director, Audrius Ambrasas Architects; Jonas Audėjaitis, Dean of Vilnus Academy of Arts’ Kaunas Faculty, and Member of Kaunas City Council; Paul Baker, Director, WilkinsonEyre; Sumit Paul-Choudhury, Editor-in-chief, New Scientist; Povilas Mačiulis, Vice Mayor, Kaunas City Municipality; Rainer Mahlamäki, Professor and Founder, Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Architects; Rolandas Maskoliūnas, Chief Press Officer, Lithuanian Academy of Sciences; and Christos Passas, Associate Director, Zaha Hadid Architects. The Jury was chaired by Malcolm Reading.