Friday, 17 June 2016

The Great Sporto Rūmai In Vilnius, Lithuania

There are still a handful of fantastic Soviet-era buildings scattered around Vilnius, stark reminders of a stark time in Lithuania. The most iconic building sits across from Old Town, across the Neris River from the central section of Vilnius. Never mind that it was built on the site of a desecrated Jewish cemetery. Different times, different values, definitely different architecture.

Behold Sporto Rūmai. Nice curves. Built in 1971.

The building makes a statement, all harsh concrete, a little glass to soften the mood. Front view.

Side and back of the place. It seems the Soviets decided to do a mash up of Eero Saarinen's Dulles Airport with the brutalist style of Louis Kahn.

Hints of aquatic, grand details. A set of porthole windows, emulating deco style, maybe whale blow holes.

Fish gill side windows.

Marble entrance. Kahn-like concrete stairway.

Front lobby.

Alas, the place is closed. About a decade ago, developers were circling, ready to spruce it up, make it part of a new destination. Double alas, plans fell through, demolition loomed. Triple alas, the city has re-claimed ownership and has established historical status. Final alas, its future.

Its present? Rented to a film for use as offices and a stage for sets.

Seating, regular section and VIP. An interesting design: the seats are only on one side, taking up the inside of the giant front sweep. Mainly basketball and volleyball were played there. Maybe since the Soviet Union was a one party state, you only needed one point of view.

Back of the building reception area, a little wood to soften the look.

The film that's being made there? Jack The Ripper. Roll over Brezhnev, tell Krushchev the news.

No comments:

Post a Comment