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Cooperative Residential House

Kaunas, Lithuania
1 of 10
D. Leonavicienes nuotrauka, 2019 m.

In 1932, the highest-ranking officials of the Supreme Tribunal of Lithuania established one of the first apartment construction cooperatives, calling it simply "Butas" (a Flat). The apartment blocks were constructed in a quiet part of the city on Trakų 5, on the slopes of Vytautas Park. The community built a house where they could not only live but also work – the layout of the apartments allowed them to receive clients without disturbing family life. Not only its architect Jonas Kriščiukaitis himself but also his brother Kazys, as well as a member of the cooperative, a famous public figure Antanas Kriščiukaitis (Aišbė) – a writer, researcher, first chairman of the Supreme Tribunal, lived here.

While the reinforced concrete construction was still completely new in Lithuania, the buildings built this way often received public attention. At the same time, when the reinforced concrete building of the "Pienocentras" company began to rise, passers-by on Laisvės avenue were stunned and called it the "American construction". The house of the company "Butas" also stood out with its modernity – such houses of minimalist, clean and modern forms were still a rarity in the temporary capital.

The building consists of 5 stories and a basement, although the design specifies six stories. There are nine flats in the building. Two of the flats are smaller than the other flats, and there is access to them through the entrance to the backyard. The public and private spaces in every flat are divided carefully, and the toilets are located near the office. Therefore, the lawyers could meet with their clients without compromising their family life. There is an elevator in the middle of the apartment blocks between the central staircase and the staircase connected to the backyard entrance. The symmetrical façade is accentuated by two bay windows extending from the second to the top floor, which are connected to balconies. The central part of the building is highlighted by a band of staircase windows. It extends from the main entrance through the entire height of the building. The corner of the bay windows and the balconies are curved. The high parapet of the roof establishes the impression that the building has a flat roof.

When construction started, the city's Building Department received a complaint from the owner of the plot behind the building, Mr J. Gravrogko, about the insufficient width and height of the driveway. According to the documents, the owners of the plots managed to reach an agreement, but it was not possible to find out whether the dimensions of the driveway, as specified in the project, were adjusted.

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