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House of D. and M. Šleževičiai

Kaunas, Lithuania
1 of 5
L. Mykolaicio nuotraukos, 2018 m.

Mykolas Sleževičius is a prominent lawyer, statesman and public figure. After Lithuania regained independence, he became one of the first prime ministers. He signed a document calling for volunteers to defend Lithuania's independence in 1918, and on 2 January 1919, in the face of an imminent threat to the country's independence, he announced that the offices of the ministries would be temporarily moved to Kaunas. This meant that Kaunas became the temporary capital of the country after the loss of Vilnius, the historical capital of Lithuania. This unique status eventually led to a radical transformation of the city. The state disaster turned into a historical opportunity for Kaunas, and the temporariness lasted almost the entire period of independence. Meanwhile, the Head of State, who had temporarily moved to the capital of the country, died in Kaunas in 1939 and stayed here forever.

Interestingly, temporariness was a significant factor in the city's development. In the 1930s, it was believed that it was not worth building expensive administrative and state buildings in Kaunas, as one should wait for the return to Vilnius. While the state delayed, building mainly only the most basic buildings, Kaunas was developed by businessmen and officials, building houses and creating living space for the rapidly growing population.

After retiring from active politics, Sleževičius became one of Lithuania's most prominent lawyers. In 1932, together with his wife, the dentist Doma Sleževičienė, they built a luxurious house. The owners' apartment covered two floors and housed the lawyer's and dentist's offices. A few rooms were left for rent. Due to its vertical emphasis, the building has a monumental façade for a small building. The entrance of the building is at its left axis, which is gradually in front of the main surface. Even though it has a pitched roof, due to the cornice on top and the parapet, the building gives the impression that it has a flat roof from its front façade. The basement, which looks like a semi-basement from the front façade, is totally out of the ground at the back due to the slope of the plot. Representative stairs give direct access to the first floor from the courtyard. The transition of the side axis at the back façade is achieved by rounded corners. A small balcony at the side façade and an accentuated staircase mass.

Today, however, it only resembles a residential house from the outside. The modern urban villa is now run by children.

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