Spires and Strange Iconicity

Vilnius is a city of spires. This project resonates with its urban silhouette while still registering as a discrete object, seemingly landed on the city, or maybe cored out from it. A collection of vertical spires figure the roofline of a low, circular disc that hovers just above the tip of Tauras Hill. The project resists the bulky massing typical of the western concert hall type, presenting instead a vision of slenderness and multiplicity often associated with other civic or religious buildings. Breaking expectation of type disrupts the ability of the audience to consume it, creating an alluring project that is both somehow familiar and inaccessible.

Spare Parts of the City

A familiar set of urban forms is miniaturized and re-organized, like the recognizable yet altered elements in a souvenir snowglobe. The project does not literally mimic the spires or buildings of Vilnius, but instead initiates a conversation with them. Sets of small tower figures are used like the spare parts of a model kit, or the pieces of a game. Parts can be copied, differentially scaled, and rotated, or even thrown out, but they cannot be deformed or hybridized. Like a snow globe, this miniature toy city has the benefit of being able to include things of different times, places, and scales, all laid out inside a circular boundary.


The curvilinear disc and chunky nested masses of the theaters create a highly differentiated interior. The spires draw daylight down and offer vaulted ceilings inside the disc, which contains cafes, coffee bars, art galleries, cultural exhibits, and educational functions that engage the public. Helical stairs wind up through the space, connecting to viewing decks and gardens on the roof, and bridges and stairs are embedded into the thick walls of the theaters, sometimes fully disappearing inside.

The main concert hall-- nested alongside the smaller black box theater within the disc -- is a vineyard type with deep floating trays in the tradition of the Berlin Philharmonie. The circulation embedded in the theater walls weaves up to each tray, creating a series of discrete experiences.

Shadow Tectonics

The skin of the building is made from fake shadows of the building’s own spires, which seem to be cast from a different sun, producing an otherworldly effect. Offset linework and graphic fills from these shadows form a patchy tectonic that is as distinctive as the building’s mass features. Magically, the shadows even spill off the roof to create a new ground for the building.

Location: Vilnius, Lithuania
Site Area: 5,730 SM
Floor Area: 16,000 SM
Program: 1700-Seat Concert Hall and public space
Client: City of Vilnius