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Land Bank of Kaunas

Kaunas, Lithuania
1 of 11
L. Mykolaicio nuotrauka, 2018 m.

Most of the bank buildings designed in Lithuania between the two world wars, both in the major cities and in the provinces, were characterised by distinctly classical forms. Rationalist and functionalist features began to emerge in bank architecture in the 1930s. The classical architecture characteristic of the buildings is increasingly abstracted, taking on simpler geometric forms. The Land Bank in Kaunas is a typical example of this process. Karolis Reisonas, writing about the Land Bank, even though it has a rather restrained architecture, bases his position on elements of the architectural language that are close to modernism, such as the flat roof: "The parapet almost covers the roof, especially when viewed from the square, and since the roof is partially visible from a distance, so as not to appear as a bright spot above the palace, it is covered with a tin roof, which blends in with the sky in its colour, and therefore does not dominate the palace or detract from the overall tranquil appearance of the Bank House and the museum". Interestingly, in the presentation of the architecture of the Bank Palace in the periodical press of the time, we can also see some hints of the new modernist aesthetic: "It is necessary that the working rooms should be light, airy and warm. All other requirements of the house were considered secondary [...] the emphasis was on hygiene and cleanliness of the house". It is true that the notion of aesthetic quality in architecture remains inseparable from ornamentation. The absence of the latter is justified only from the point of view of hygiene and finances: "Expensive fittings, all kinds of plaster embellishments and ornaments, which, although they decorate the interior furnishings, always help to keep the dust at bay, are absent from the newly-built houses of the Land Bank".

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