International competition for redevelopment of Vilnius railway station

An open international competition has been announced to redevelop Vilnius railway station and surrounding areas.

The contest invites experienced teams to draw up ‘iconic and globally recognisable’ concepts to upgrade the international station – which connects the Baltic state to nearby Belarus and the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad – along with the central station square and nearby bus terminal.

The project – backed by Vilnius City Municipality and Lithuanian Railways – aims to improve connections between the railway station precinct and the neighbouring Old Town UNESCO World Heritage Site. The overall winner will receive a €50,000 top prize.

Remigijus Šimašius, mayor of Vilnius, said: ‘Our goal is that any person who arrives by train or bus to Vilnius immediately sees that it is a vibrant city of the future, and when they step into the station square or street, they will feel that the city is cosy, green, and inspiring. I hope that many bold ideas will be submitted, which would allow this ambition to be realised.’

Lithuanian Railways chief executive Mantas Bartuška said: ‘Projects for the reconstruction of stations in the world’s capital cities usually take place only once in a century, so this open call is a historic opportunity for the world’s best architects to define a vision for future generations.

‘The partnership for reconstructing the station district reflects our determination to open up previously closed industrial spaces for the city and to adapt them for the people. Here we want to create such spaces that correspond to the best examples of Western European railway stations, and the station would not only be a point of travel, but also a new attraction centre with leisure and service spaces, comfortable connections for pedestrians, cyclists, and everyone choosing comfortable and eco-friendly trips by train.’

Vilnius railway station first opened in 1861 as part of an international railway connecting St Petersburg with Warsaw. The station was rebuilt in a Soviet realist style in the 1950s and today hosts both international and local rail services. It features a memorial to the estimated 150,000 Lithuanians who were deported to Gulags by train.

The competition – organised by the Lithuanian Association of Architects – is part of a wider 21-hectare vision to upgrade living, work and travel facilities across the centre of the capital city dubbed Vilnius Connect.

The call for concepts comes just over a year after Spanish practice Arquivio Architects won an international competition to design a landmark new €52 million concert venue replacing the Lithuanian capital’s abandoned Soviet-era Trade Union House.

The overall winner – to be announced in July – will receive a €50,000 top prize while a second prize of €30,000, third prize of €20,000 and two additional prizes worth €10,000 each will also be awarded.

The deadline for applications is 31 May.


Photo Vilnius municipality. Source architectsjournal