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Houses of L. Vaisviliene and O. Balsiene

Kaunas, Lithuania
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Žilvinas Rinkšelis, 2019.Source: https://modernizmasateiciai.lt/l-vaisvilienes-ir-o-balsienes-namai/

The building, which was constructed at the end of independence, is unconventional. Although visually a single house, the structure has emerged as two buildings belonging to two different owners. Lidija Vaisviliene submitted her first application for a two-storey brick house on the plot in 1936. The project was prepared by the civil engineer Jokubas Peras. However, the idea was not implemented. In 1939, Lidija Vaisviliene and Olimpija Balsiene commissioned the civil engineer Leiba Zimans to prepare another project.

The composition of the two houses, which are symmetrically attached to each other, is based on mirror symmetry. Only on the rear facade it is possible to see the curved brick staircase to the second floor, which was designed in the part that belonged to O. Balsiene. This playful detail is a rare element of Kaunas interwar architecture. The main facade is representative. Massive, curved balconies, a dark stuccoed ground floor, a staircase and an entrance raised from the street level give the house an impression of luxury. There are various-sized balconies at the back facade; however, these are rectangular shaped.

The building was built in the face of the threat of war, so the design provided shelter. As seen from the entry of 3 January 1940 in the house's file, the shelter room was enlarged during construction to create a kitchen. However, in the 1939 project, it is possible to see that the hiding place in this house was planned to be located in the crawl space rather than in the basement. The room with a window was probably only formally called a hiding place. The same entry indicates that the house had a maid's room of 4,5 m2.

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