MRC’s one-stage design contest for the new National Science and Innovation Centre of Lithuania, known as Science Island, was the most popular design contest ever held in Lithuania. One hundred and forty-four entries were received from 44 countries, representing an amazingly diverse set of architectural proposals. The quality of the schemes greatly impressed the high-profile international jury.
In September 2016, the Prime Minister of Lithuania announced the three winning architects and the five commended runners-up. Following a negotiation process, SMAR Architecture Studio was appointed by Kaunas City Municipality to develop their concept through to completion on site.
The contest sought outstanding designs that both integrated the latest environmental thinking and crystallised the emerging identity of Kaunas, creating a symbol of the city. Science Island’s mission is to popularise science through hands-on enquiry and exposition and celebrate recent achievements in science and global technologies.
The Centre, within the celebrated university city of Kaunas, will focus particularly on environmental themes and ecosystems, demonstrating sustainability and future energy technologies in the design of its own building.
The designs were exhibited in Kaunas and online in a digital gallery. Construction on Science Island began in September 2020, with opening scheduled for 2021.
The Prime Minister of Lithuania, Algirdas Butkevičius, said:
‘We have been delighted by the response of the international architectural community to this project.
‘The initiative has clearly resonated, being both universally and humanly relevant, as well as of great national importance for Lithuania. We believe that Science Island will show how science can inspire positive change for the planet and humanity.’