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House of Šalčiai Family

Kaunas, Lithuania
1 of 7
ekonomisto salciaus namas_ikonele

The house of Antanina and Petras Šalčiai, located at V. Putvinskio 12, was built in 1930. The three-storey brick building was designed by V. Landsbergis-Zemkalnis.

The owners of the house, Antanina and Petras, lived on the second floor. Petras Šalčius (1893-1958) was an economist, theoretician and practitioner of cooperation, and a professor. He worked at Kaunas University, from which he was dismissed for his criticism of the collective farm system. Antanina Gustaitytė-Šalčiuvienė (1895-1958) was a writer and teacher. She wrote for various publications, was the editor of "Lietuvos aboliucionisto" (Lithuanian Abolitionist) in 1921-1922, and wrote novels and books of other genres. Petras and Antanina died one after the other in 1958, and a memorial plaque (1994) reminds passers-by of their life in V. Putvinskio 12 today.

The apartment on the ground floor was rented until 1939 by the Minister of Education, agronomist professor J. Tonkūnas (1894-1968). In 1941 he was exiled by the Soviets to Krasnoyarsk Krai. In 1955 he returned to his homeland. The mathematician, professor Zigmas Žemaitis lived on the third floor until 1940. Stasys Lozoraitis (1898-1983) - Minister of Foreign Affairs, a diplomat for over 40 years in Rome - lived in this house until 1934. Magdalena Avietėnaitė (1892-1984), a Lithuanian diplomat, journalist, public figure and organiser of international exhibitions, also lived there. At the First International Conference of European Telegram Agencies in Bern, Magdalena Avietėnaitė was the only woman among 33 participants.

The mass nationalisation of property that came with the Soviet occupation did not bypass the Šalčiai family's building either. In 1941, the plot of land with a building on V. Putvinskio 12 became state property. The Salčiai house was not the same when it was built as we see it today. Around 1956-1958, a similar building was added to the western wall of the building (maintaining an identical street façade). Therefore, the original building is the one which is on the east side today. However, since the buildings have exactly the same façade, it is not easy to recognise this fact. The main entrance is at the side of the façade. The building contains a semi-basement/ ground floor, three regular floors and an attic. The attic is at the central axis; therefore, the central axis of the building looks one floor higher than the sides. The staircase has direct windows to the front façade, which makes the door a part of a composition rather than a single door. Windows are separated by transoms. There are parapets in front of the roof, giving the building the impression of having a flat roof. Under the parapets, there are also wide cornices. In 2018, this double building was renovated, and its premises are now used for administrative purposes.

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