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Garage of the Lithuanian American Trade Joint Stock Company

Kęstučio g. 71-FOMA-5 Large.jpeg
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By Monika Pociūtė, 2023

The Lithuanian American Trade Joint Stock Company (Amlitas), founded in 1921, is considered one of the leading "players" in developing motorisation and transport in interwar Lithuania. The company, which traded and repaired cars and tractors and their parts, later expanded its activities by assembling Amlitas bicycles for the roads of the Lithuanian provinces, Ford cars, and buses for the city of Kaunas. In 1929, the company started to build the first two-storey car garage in Lithuania, which, among other things, was the largest building of its kind in the country at that time.

The building, designed by Arnas Funks, stood out in the context of the time for its very modern architectural expression. It was an interesting exception to the construction of Kaunas New Town, which was then drowning in the search for a "national style" and the interpretations of historicist architecture. Although the function of the building could not be considered a full-fledged example of industrial architecture (the latter definition is more applicable to the entire Amlitas complex), the fact of its architectural expression reflected the wider spread of functionalist tendencies in Europe, especially in the architecture of its industrial and farm buildings.

The ground floor of the garage was built in 1929, and the first floor was built in 1932. However, the building was not plastered due to the decision to change the ground floor function a few years later, when in 1939, according to the reconstruction project of Vytautas Landsbergis-Zemkalnis, a Mercedes-Benz automobile shop was opened in the building. Today, the building is still not plastered. It was used as a coffee shop until 2017; however, it has stayed empty since then.

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