Vilnius Plaza

Martha Schwartz Partners as Landscape Architects

The area around Vilnius Plaza is a mixed use development situated in Lithuania’s capital city. The development area enjoys direct visual links across the Nerris River to the Gediminas Castle Tower, one of Vilnius’ main historical attractions. To the south, the development abuts the Plaza to Vilnius Cathedral. The site, during the soviet era, was home to the City’s main football stadium which has since become unused and derelict. The residential area to the north with its tightly-knit pedestrian network connects the site back into the Šnipiškės neighborhood. These conditions imply that the site has a potential as a cultural destination between north and south area.

 

The site can be seen as a cultural destination of Vilnius. The profound urban transformation of Vilnius during the past 50 years has taken it from being a newly formed developing city to now being at the forefront of progressive thinking about shaping cities for the new “urban age.” This new era is characterized by global trends such as climate change, declining natural resources, increased emphasis on sustainability along with the deeply felt local need for a sense of community, belonging to a place, and connection to nature.

 

Our design intention has been informed in part by elements of the site analysis. There was a no-ticeable progression running along the North South axis of the development site when extended into the wider urban context. Historical, traditional, demographic and cultural influences were apparent from the Old City to the south through to the more developed residential areas to the north. Physical topographical changes between the Castle on a mound to the south, across the river to the level northern zone were also conspicuous. These progressions through the land-scape were abstracted to create the overall design narrative of a “surging landscape.”

 

We see this as an extraordinary opportunity to re-energize the promenade and plaza through more contemporary programming and design combined with innovative sustainability and urban-ism strategies. We will make the site the “surging landscape” of Vilnius’s open space system. We envisage the site as a place that will continue to evolve and adapt without abandoning its rich landscape spectrums, where the site becomes a place that existing landscape elements are celebrated, and the future is promoted for the welfare of new generations.

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