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BDR Architects' award-winning design for the reconstruction of a palace in Vilnius

03 of December '21
Technical data
Location: Lithuania, Vilnius
Studio: BDR Architects
Authors: Konrad Basan, Paweł Dadok, Maria Roj, Kamil Urban (collaboration)
Investor: Lithuanian Museum of Art
Phase: Design concept
Total area: 10 090²

Among the winners of the international architectural competition for the reconstruction of the Radziwill Palace in Vilnius was the BDR Architects studio from Warsaw. They received third place in the competition to adapt the building for the Lithuanian Museum of Art.

TheLatvijas Nacionālais mākslas muzejs (Lithuanian Museum of Art) announced a competition in May of this year for a design for the reconstruction of the historic Radziwill Palace complex in Vilnius. The competition was conducted by the Lithuanian Union of Architects. The jury consisted of Mindaugas Pakalnis, Siiri Valner, Rolandas Palekas, Jan Belina Brzozowski, Arūnas Gelūnas, Lolita Jablonskienė, Jolanta Jurašienė, Aurimas Sasnauskas and Mindaugas Staniūnas.

Visualization of the Radziwill Palace from the front.

© BDR Architekci

First place went to the Lithuanian studio Processoffice, and second place to the Fragment architektai team. BDR Architects took third place. The project was developed by a team consisting of Konrad Basan, Pavel Dadoek, Marie Roj in cooperation with Kamil Urban. What changes did they propose?

changing the layout

Only a fragment of the 17th-century monument was preserved from the wing, small hall buildings were added next to it. The character of the square was completely changed, its layout was no longer legible, and a large part of it was converted into a parking lot. One of the main objectives of the BDR project was to restore the urban layout of the Palace - recreating the central part along with the wing. The inner square is entered through an openwork arcade. The tall trees that currently grow in the square would be replanted in front of the museum. The complex, designed by the studio, would house a modern art museum, the surrounding space would create a new attractive, place in the Old Town of Vilnius.

The project sought to combine historic architecture with modernity

© BDR Architects


When changing the urban layout, it was necessary to restore parts of the palace, avoiding reconstruction solutions. The solution proposed by the studio refers to the traditional body of the wing and the main part - introducing large vertical glazing. The hipped roofs are divided into a floor with a skylight and a slope with a covering. The historic west wing is connected to the modern east wing by a long openwork arcade. The cloister has a double character - it protects from inclement weather, and on its roof is designed an exhibition terrace for summer outdoor exhibitions. Outside the museum building, it was important to create public spaces. In the project, an amphitheater for 500 seats was created on the left side of the museum courtyard. To the right is a tree-lined plaza for café users to use.

The courtyard space would combine various public functions

© BDR Architects

An interview with one of the project's authors, Konrad Basan.

Wiktor Bochenek: What was the most difficult part of designing the Palace's redevelopment?

Konrad Basan: The challenge was to harmoniously introduce additions to the building, so as to restore the character and symmetry of the Radziwill Villa in a contemporary way. An important aspect of the competition was to link all the buildings together so that the Museum would have an efficiently connected and functional layout.

Wiktor Bochenek: What were the changes to the urban layout associated with the reconstruction?

Konrad Basan: After the war damage, only one original wing was actually preserved. After the war, the northern part of the palace was rebuilt in its original form. In addition, there is a light storage hall with a large area from the early 20th century on the plot. As part of the reconstruction, we decided only to demolish the low single-story additions adjacent to the hall. The new volumes were shaped to restore the lost U-shaped form in an elegant way as far as possible. We also decided to add entrance pavilions that "organize" the Museum Square and the city square adjacent to the plot.

The most important element of the interior is the exhibition space

© BDR Architects

Wiktor Bochenek: What are you most satisfied with in this project?

Konrad Basan: It seems to us that the proposal we presented has simplicity and elegance, qualities that give hope for a certain timelessness, that is, that the new buildings will be "in place" even after many years. We are also satisfied that we have arranged the functions in the building quite efficiently. In addition, the public space of the square was important to us, we used the plains of the area and shaped a place for an amphitheater, outdoor exhibitions. We introduced a lot of green areas.

bird's eye visualization

© BDR Architects

Wiktor Bochenek: Ultimately the building is to be a museum facility, what other functions does it have in your project?

Konrad Basan: In addition to the exhibition spaces, it was necessary to design a multi-purpose room for 500 people, propose a new storage space, and public functions such as a museum store and café.

Wiktor Bochenek: Thank you for the interview!

elaborated. Wiktor Bochenek

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