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Residential House and Cinema “Kapitol”

Kaunas, Lithuania
1 of 8
Sovietu sarvuotieji automobiliai Laisves alejoje, 1940 m. (VDKM fondu nuotrauka).

The popularity of cinemas in the interwar period made them one of the main places to spend leisure time in the city. Encouraged by this, Pranas Šližys, a doctor and a retired military officer, wanted to demolish his wooden house on Laisvės 36 and replace it with a three-storey brick house.

First, on 17 March 1930, he was granted a permit "to build a hut and two-storey dwellings for the cinema" in place of the former wooden house with Stanislovas Imša's shops. Later, on 13 June 1930, an application was submitted again for 'the construction of a third floor above the two-storey brickwork to be built. Construction was already completed in the autumn of 1930; however, the cinema was opened in January 1931. The cinema consisted of a hall, a foyer and a balcony and had 400 seats, according to information from 1938.

In the subsequent development of the site, in 1933, a record appears of the unauthorised construction of a fourth-floor attic. In 1934, a commission inspected the site and found that the owner had built a living room on the fourth floor with three windows projecting above the roof without permission. The Commission inspected the site and found that the rooms were neatly arranged and did not present any danger, and therefore decided to declare the rooms to be not demolished. Later that year, an official request was made for the attic. In 1936, the first-floor shop windows were enlarged according to the design of Arnas Funkas, who was an influential architect in the interwar period.

The building was designed by construction technician Jonas Salenikas. The unremarkable modernist building was decorated with a pointed roof on the right-hand side, not only to give the house a character but also to mark the entrance to the cinema in some way. The symmetrical west axis of the building does not have any specific roof element. The middle axis of the building is relatively in front of the west and east axis. The staircase of the building, which is in the back yard gives the most modernist look to the building.

When it was first built, the ground floor of the building was used as a bookshop, perfumery and haberdashery shop. The landlord also rented out flats which were on the upper floors. In the 2000s, the nightclub Kanklės was located here for a while.Today, the building houses a variety of uses, such as Kaunas 2022 office, a shop, a newsagent, public offices and residential apartments.

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