The light of the sun penetrates this crystal house, which reigns above the entire city like a sparkling diamond. [This house] sparkles in the sun as a sign of the highest serenity and peace of mind. In its space, the lonely wanderer discovers the pure bliss of the building art. While climbing up the stairs to the upper platform, he looks to the city at his feet and beyond to the sun rising and setting, towards which the city and its heart are so strongly directed.
– Bruno Taut, (The Crown of the City – Die Stadtkrone, 1919)
The replacement of the Trade Union palace with the National Concert Hall “Tautos Namai” is a decision in favor of a programmatic gentrification that reflects a collective desire for the reevaluation of Vilnius’ identity and image. Most capitals of the world maintain at least one place that provides leisure and observation. These places, no matter if they are natural or artificial, are usually considered as urban landmarks. While they offer to provide visitors with a panoramic view to the city panorama, they eventually become iconic themselves, by interrupting the infrastructural and visual continuity of the city. Dealing with superficially contrasting notions such as locality and universality, materiality and immateriality, functionality and formality, we consider our proposal as an element that signifies and intensifies the tension lines that prescribe Tauras Hill; as if it existed within the hill and through gradual soil abstraction, it has started revealing itself, whereas part of it still remains buried. The North-South axis of the building is transparent, so that it becomes a connective medium between the old cemetery and the contemporary city, whereas the West and East elevations are opaque covered with multi-colored brick patterns. The two brick facades are interrupted only by small vertical openings, so that the gradual volumetric reduction referring to the Tauras Hill terraces is clearer.