Vertical Vilnius

Urban Hills and Ravines

The 21st-century offices on the right bank of the Neris tell the story of how, half a century ago, the idea of an artificial hill was born. It is not a natural landscape but one formed by the silhouettes of buildings. It is not a story about the district’s most interesting objects but an architectural journey through a place that has changed the most in two decades and is the most modern in Lithuania. The ambitions of the city and its businesses are constantly growing. It seems to be all about work. However, a modern city can be just as interesting as a historic one, and getting to know it is a must if you want to feel like a true local in your city.

Just as mountains do not line up in nature, this hill has its own gorges, peaks and descents in all directions. To the east, it starts at Geležinio Vilko Street, rises from west to east to its highest point – the ‘Europa’ business centre tower, and then descends steeply behind it to Kalvarijų Street. From the perspective of Old Vilnius, the hill spatially consists of three layouts. The closest to us is the part leading to Konstitucijos Avenue, in the centre of which stands the former ‘Hotel Lietuva’, which has reigned supreme for five decades and is being superseded by the new ‘Artery’ office. In the second plan is the main chain of ridges – Konstitucijos Avenue. The latest addition to the skyline is the northern slope with the massive ‘3 (4) Burės’ or the ‘3 (now 4) Sails’ on one edge. This is where the most intense hill building is expected to take place over the next ten years.

During the Soviet era, the urban hill served a social, commercial, and tourist accommodation function. In the independent era, the focus has been on large business investments and offices, especially banks. In the future, the focus is shifting to residential high-rise buildings, of which there will be many.

Route map

1. The Urban Hill

50 years ago, Šnipiškės had a radically different appearance. The tallest building was the Church of St. Raphael the Archangel. The Pedagogical University dominated the opposite corner of the skyline. Standing between fields midway between was the Stalinist-style Cooperative Technical College. To the west was the magnificent glacial esker known as Šeškinė Oz. During the Soviet era, Vilnius began to grow drastically with geometric progression: the right bank was facing inevitable changes.

In the 1950s, projects reflecting the spirit of the times emerged. The former Ukmergė Street was to be built up on both sides with standard residential blocks of flats. A road bridge was meant to be built on the site where the current White Bridge stands.

In the 1960s, a new school of Lithuanian architecture replaced the Leningrad architects. It was decided that, after all, the right bank would be used for public purposes. Algimantas Nasvytis, who was quite young at the time but already famous, was appointed to come up with and realise the vision. His solutions have remained contemporary to this day. Instead of a transport bridge, a pedestrian bridge with a spectacular artificial peninsula was envisaged. The White Bridge with restaurants in the middle was realised but only in 1995. The bay, however, has been all but forgotten, and today most of the length of the bridge hangs over the meadow – it should have crossed the water twice!

A hotel, a central department store, and other facilities were originally part of the design concept. The planned new town centre was based on functionalism and expediency. With this vision came a second, even more unique idea, that buildings could shape the silhouette of a hill, and right on the hilltop, ‘Hotel Lietuva’ was planned. Interestingly, the author drew inspiration not from the panoramas of Western metropolises, but from the Old Town of Vilnius. When he was looking at photographs, he noticed that the churches of Vilnius were grouped together in the shape of hills, and it seemed to him that he had grasped the essence of the development of Vilnius.

2. Hotel Lietuva / Radisson Blu

‘Hotel Lietuva’ was designed in 1963 by two brothers: the architects Algimantas and Vytautas Nasvytis. However, it took 18 years to build. At the time, it was a very complex and modern building. The 85-metre-high hotel was not only the highest point on the urban hill, but also the tallest skyscraper in Lithuania. The hotel is a monumental and expressive example of modernism, emphasising the contrast between the vertical and horizontal blocks. Other Lithuanian towns have built hotels with similar compositions that dominate their skylines to this day.

The keynote feature was the two open-work upper floors of the building, which housed the restaurant on the 22nd floor, which was not open to widely to all members of the public – access was granted to officials of the Communist Party. In Soviet times, the word HOTEL was emblazoned between the small crown-like canopies. Below, in italics, is the word LIETUVA.

The interiors and surroundings of the ‘Lietuva’ were decorated with an incredible number of works by famous artists. ‘Sutartinė’, which means a traditional Lithuanian multi-part polyphonic song, is the name given to Stanislovas Kuzma’s sculpture of a group of stylised women can be seen in the hotel’s side car park. The basement floor of the hotel was also home to the ‘Seklyčia’ restaurant serving Lithuanian national dishes. The hotel had 337 rooms and could accommodate 650 people at a time. This seemed to be a serious Soviet response to the chain hotels of the West.

The hotel was part of the ‘Inturist’ system for foreign guests. Enter the dark side of history in the form of special attention from the KGB. The bedrooms were bugged and equipped with eavesdropping equipment and there were cameras providing surveillance in the common areas. The KGB sought to recruit employees of US-based travel agencies. 

In 1997, the hotel was privatised; it is now the ‘Radisson Blu Hotel Lietuva’.

3. Pedestrian Passage under Ukmergės Street

The pedestrian alley starting on the left-hand side behind the Green Bridge (Žaliasis Tiltas) was once the beginning of the ‘Krasos traktas’ – the old route to Ukmergė (Vilkmergė, Вилкоми́р or Wiłkomierz), which gets its name from ‘krasa’ referring to the postal route of the Tsarist Russian administration, while ‘traktas’ refers to the highway. The width of the pedestrian alley testifies to the fact that this was a major thoroughfare. In the first decades of the Soviet era, the cobbled road was still used by motor vehicles. Thanks to an incredible transformation, the beginning of the street has even extended from the Green Bridge to the Konstitucijos Avenue roundabout. The street has retained its pre-war house numbering, and today the smallest number of a building is 120!

During the Soviet era, it was originally planned for Vilnius to expand towards Naujininkai and the airport, but later it was decided to turn north-west. The new public centre of the city was formed around the former Ukmergės Street. Along with a similar situation in Šiauliai, this was probably the first time in the history of Lithuania that a formerly important transport street was turned into a pedestrian boulevard. This was also quite new in Europe.

In the summer of 1974, the largest department store in Lithuania (now CUP) opened its doors. In addition to a wide range of goods, it boasted Lithuania’s first escalator. The department store could be accessed not only from Upės Street, but also directly from the pedestrian alley, which provided access to the 3rd floor. 

On the opposite side of the CUP, through the pedestrianised alley, is the former building of Household Amenities. Its restrained architectural structure cloaks a complex layout. Inside, there were hairdressers, a photo studio, shoe repair shops, electronic gaming machines, and ‘Aeroflot’ ticket offices. The airline’s ticket office was open here until the 2000s. The Household Amenities building, with its various passageways and courtyards, was planned to be a building in the background; it is a curiosity that it is still clad in the dolomite tiles popular at the time.

4. Hotel ‘Turistas’

Every self-respecting capital of a Soviet republic was obliged to have a ‘Turist’ hotel for the citizens of other Soviet republics visiting Vilnius. The Nasvytis brothers, unable to finish the design of the pedestrian alley and unwilling to let the architects of Leningrad get involved, turned to a friend from their study times, Justinas Šeibokas, to help. He decided to design the ‘Turist’ not along the precinct but perpendicular to it in order to make transport access more convenient. For the first time in Lithuania, ‘art’ reinforced concrete was used in the outer walls. The latter was introduced after Šeibokas became concerned that the curved window ledges would not look aesthetic. ‘Self-washing’ concrete was developed manually by trial and error on building sites. Because the surface of the material had an artistic appearance, it was referred to as ‘art concrete’.

The hotel was a quiet but comfortable hotel with 300 beds in economy double or triple rooms. Interestingly, the hotel had Lithuanian-designed furniture that allowed you to change the number of beds per room. The ‘Turist’ had a bar and a 150-seat restaurant (the whole hotel had to eat in two ‘sittings’).

At the time of independence, the hotel was privatised and became part of the ‘Best Western’ chain. In 2006, the façade was renovated, with the current bright ‘make-up’ applied to the frame.

5. ‘Artery’

Undoubtedly the most talked-about change of the last few years is the K18B office. Both because of its radical change of perspective on the right bank of the Neris, its expressive forms, and the fact that Daniel Libeskind, one of the world’s most famous architects at the moment, has had a hand in its creation.

According to the guidelines approved by the Municipality, the height limit for this site should be 35 m, whereas ‘Artery’ is 82 m. However, the project is justified by the fact that it does not obstruct the top of the urban hill, the slope of the broken southern part of the site blends in with the terrace of the Neris River, and it fits in well with the public space. The construction has forced the temporary closure of Lithuania’s busiest underpass, but after the reconstruction, it will be significantly longer and it will be possible to exit not only on the other side of Konstitucijos Avenue, but also one terrace of the Neris River below – directly towards the White Bridge. This will make the office the most visible and passable in Vilnius. The name ‘Artery’ is therefore very apt.

Few other Lithuanian office projects have given as much prominence to the designers in this way. Buildings by ‘Studio Libeskind’ are particularly characterised by the unexpected, bold, broken building forms seen in ‘Artery’. According to the architects, the shape of the skyscraper resembles a crystal, and the shape has led to the creation of unprecedented constructions. The building features an 18,000 square metre triple-glazed façade, designed and manufactured by a team that has worked on projects such as the ‘Burj Khalifa’ in Dubai. The aluminium frames are not visible at all, and the interior offers a 360-degree view of the city. Most importantly, ‘Artery’ will have a 35-metre high atrium space, accessible to the public 24 hours a day.

6. ‘Swedbank’

Perhaps the most striking to this day is the ‘Swedbank’ headquarters, built in 2009. Before that, the bank had nine administrative units in Vilnius. Naturally, the idea emerged to combine them into one space. As many as 22 design proposals were submitted by architects participating in the competition for the project. The winner was ‘Ambras Architects’. Until then, the traditional perception of a bank was that there was an administration and an operations room where the customer visits. The Swedbank headquarters in Vilnius has fundamentally changed this traditional relationship between the bank and the individual, with a large part of the territory and internal space dedicated to people who come to the bank for more than just financial services. 35% of the site is covered by the terrace that has become well-known to Vilnius residents. Formed of broken reinforced concrete slabs covered with wood, it turns into a giant bench that is lovely to sit on. Interestingly, the terrace’s skylights overlook the client meeting rooms. By the way, the giant decorative prism-lighting fixtures along the terrace are actually the ventilation openings for the underground car park.

The upper part is decorated with pilasters. Interestingly, they are not made of iron, as it may seem, but of wood, made of natural wood (beech) veneer. Their total length amounts to 2.7 km. The building’s façade, made of diamond-shaped stainless metal panels, has become a hallmark of the building and has provided the backdrop for many a photo of some of Lithuania’s most influential financial pundits. The panels are polished in different directions. This gives the effect of their rough surface being ‘painted’ when illuminated, rendering shadows and highlights that make the façade appear multi-coloured, even though they are actually all the same colour!

The transparent atrium crossing the ‘tower’ part extends the axis of the former Ukmergė Street, and the bow-tie-shaped roof is reminiscent of the mid-20th century Western traditions.

7. Europe Square and Europe Business Centre

The first decade of independence was difficult economically and there was no major development on the right bank of the Neris. Nowadays, there’s struggle for limited plots on the right bank, so investing here seems logical, but in around the year 2000, it seemed risky. The architect Audrius Ambrasas, who designed the plans for the ‘Europa’ project, recalls how some real estate developers were surprised by the decision of the ‘Hanner’ company to acquire plots ‘deep in the wasteland’.

In 1999, Vilnius Municipality came up with the idea of bringing under one roof the city’s departments that had previously been scattered all down Gediminas Avenue. Five years later, the new Municipality of the Lithuanian capital opened its doors. The 21-storey vertical building has quite a prominent presence in the city skyline and looks welcoming to visitors. The architectural language is rather dry, but bear in mind it was built as a well-organised workplace. Businesses would begin to calculate simply and correctly – the Municipality would become an object of attraction. 

In 2002, press reports appeared about a planned 30-storey skyscraper; three more were added later. Construction progressed quickly, with the complex opening on 1 May 2004. The building was completed on the occasion of Lithuania’s accession to the European Union. As a result, the square next door was also named ‘Europe Square’. Naturally, in Lithuania, where nothing like it had ever been seen before, the ‘Europa’ tower was often viewed with controversy at first. However, it has become a symbol of 21st-century national identity – Western market economics – and is no longer an issue for anyone today. At 148.3 metres, the ‘Europa’ Business Centre remains the tallest skyscraper, and there are no signs yet that it will be surpassed in height.

8. 3 (4) ‘Sails’ (Burės)

Not everything has gone smoothly on the urban hill. The only way to get from ‘Europe Square’ to the once-equivalent Lviv Street is through an awkward tunnel. On Lviv Street, you are greeted by the car park of a shopping centre and huge skyscrapers on the other side. New modern projects will try to revitalise the area. The area around Lviv Street offers the best prospects for change on the right bank of the Neris, as there is no room left for ambitious new projects on Konstitucijos Avenue.

‘Vilnius Business Port’, widely known as the ‘Sails’, consists of three skyscrapers consisting of 24, 23, and 17 storeys, respectively. The complex was designed by Leonid Merkin. This is another megaproject launched in 2005. Interestingly, in 2002, the original option was to build one 29-storey tower, but there was dissatisfaction, and so the big tower was split into two smaller towers: the ‘Large Sail’ and the ‘Small Sail’. In 2014, the complex was acquired by the Swedish company ‘East Capital’, which a couple of years later built a third ‘sail’ and is now building a fourth. The third one replicates the sail of a yacht with its convex façades. However, due to the high density of the buildings, it is only visible from certain places. One of the most intriguing features is the open-air sports court at 63 m high, where padel (tennis), basketball, or volleyball can be played. Another innovative solution is geothermal energy, with 33 boreholes providing heat when the temperature outside is + 5 degrees. Another achievement that the owners boast about is the highest solar power plant in Lithuania, installed at a height of 80 metres.

9. ‘Flow’

On 25 January 2024, ‘Flow’ opened its doors. The office was developed by ‘Eika Group’, which specialises in the construction of residential buildings (6,000 by 2023), and this is the group’s tallest building. It is one of the few in Lithuania to receive the ‘BREEAM Outstanding New Construction’ certification, which doesn’t only mean that it is highly energy efficient; all aspects of the stringent requirements have been fulfilled – even nuances, such as the sustainability and recyclability of the construction process and the materials used have been considered.

As implied by the name ‘Flow’, the philosophy of the office is to create ‘a state in which challenge is combined with skill, where thoughts are focused and thinking is fervent’. The building was designed by ‘Architecture Creative Group’. On a relatively small plot of 33 ares, it was necessary to accommodate the public space and a large office building in a way that would not become a new dominating feature of the architectural landscape. It is like two (actually one) 20 and 15 storey slender buildings that support each other. According to the authors, the idea was to create a form that would be like a curtain to reveal what lies beyond the hill. Where the curtain is parted at the bottom, the entrance to the office is revealed.

A natural advantage was the existing Jonas Jablonskis Square in front of the future FLOW site. Behind the building there is a large amphitheatre with plants – a huge bench that invites both office workers and passers-by to take a break. Finally, on the roof of the lower wing, there is a landscaped terrace of about 500 sqm, overlooking the Old Town. So, in a small space, the office has as many as three green outdoor spaces to relax.

The interior is a soothing white colour. The most intriguing element not found in other offices is the salt room with music and light therapy, and there is also a massage room on the second floor.

10. Residential skyscrapers – the Soviet monolith and the ‘Harp’

Until a few years ago, residential skyscrapers were a rarity in Lithuania – people even regarded them with suspicion. However, the situation has changed dramatically in recent years. In the near future, a whole host of skyscrapers will be built in Viršuliškės and Šnipiškės. In the meantime, we have two modern residential skyscrapers forming the urban landscape – ‘#Tower’ and the ‘Europa Business Centre’ – as well as a couple of Soviet monoliths.

In 1989, a 16-storey monolithic apartment block was built on Konstitucijos Avenue, which was then named after the Communist Paleckis. It was built according to a design by E. Stasiulis in 1983. There were four such buildings in total, all in Šnipiškės. The construction of monolithic apartment blocks has always been experimental, looking for new technologies and a more expressive look. After the restoration of independence, their construction was discontinued. Unlike those in other districts, these ones are more modest and have not become sculptural towers nor boundary markers of the district. Their main feature is a full-height scroll-shaped rounding containing the building’s staircase and decorative concrete ‘spectacles’. On each floor, there are small communal balconies on either side of the curved rounding.

The monolith encloses the courtyard of its neighbour, a 21st century residential tower. In 2008, it was announced that the 100-metre ‘Arfa’ residential building, the tallest in Lithuania, would be built on Konstitucijos Avenue. The parabolic shape of the building intrigued with apartments on the upper floors and amenities such as a laundry room or cigar room. The idea was good, but the timing of the construction was poor. The economic crisis was at its worst at the time, and the project went bankrupt in 2009, halfway through construction. For a decade, the apartment block stood empty and derelict until a new investor came forward in 2016 and the ‘#Tower’, renamed ‘Harp’, was finally completed.

11. The National Gallery of Art

To understand the two black mysterious screens on Konstitucijos Avenue, you need to go back in time. The competition for the Museum of the Revolution, launched in 1966, was won by a group of architects led by Gediminas Baravykas. The museum is made up of four bright differently protruding cubes, as viewed from Upės Street. It was said that they resemble a flag waving in the wind. The construction took a very long time; the Museum of the Revolution was not able to be established in the premises until 1980. It has one of the most impressive wide staircases in Vilnius leading up to the entrance. Along the way you can see rectangular monumental volumes sliding away from each other. They seem to hang in mid-air because the ground floor is a glass wall.

Once Lithuania had gained its independence in 1991, there was no longer a need for museum of revolution, and the National Gallery of Art moved in. Unfortunately, the Gallery was greeted by dampness, falling dolomite slabs on the façade, and a leaky roof. It turned out that many mistakes had been made during construction, so a long and costly reconstruction would unfortunately lie ahead.

Finally, when the gallery reopened in 2009, it was a very different gallery. Previously, the interior had been divided into separate rooms with different themes and unnatural colours – black and red. Instead of creating a complicated exhibition space, a continuous exhibition space was created, which could be viewed in one go. An ‘invisible’ temporary exhibition hall was built between the National Gallery of Art and the street in a former meadow. In a modern art repository, a fire would be extinguished by special gas. Two large screens by the street tell the story of the NDG’s uniqueness. The idea was that the ‘twins’ should not compete with the gallery itself and should be in a different category. They are identical, but leaning in opposite directions. And the most interesting thing is that they are the administrative premises of the NDG – not just any old billboards! They are five storeys high; inside, the walls are vertical and there is no tilt. The screens have 803 windows.

12. ‘Quadrum’

‘Quadrum’ is one of the most successful office buildings because of its contextuality, openness to the public and cosiness (yes, an office can be cosy!).

In one sentence, ‘Quadrum’ is a project consisting of three towers and a central courtyard. The project centres on life around the towers. They spiral upwards so as not to block the view from the window. The towers are named according to the orientation of the horizontal part – the ‘South’, ‘North’ or ‘East’. The building is the fruit of a joint collaboration between Norwegian, Danish, and Lithuanian architects.

‘Quadrum’ is unique in terms of its construction with a continuous two-metre thick slab between the surface and the underground car park, using shipbuilding profiles. Ground subsidence and displacements are compensated for by the movement of the towers with bearings, which are used for drawbridges.

If you look closely at any wall, you will see that the pattern of the façade is uneven – it is made up of a composition of square shapes. It interprets the logo of the ‘Quadrum’ office complex. The leitmotif of the square was created in a Norwegian architectural office, where a graphic designer interpreted a bird’s eye view of the district. The horizontally divided greenish façade is particularly original.

The name of the building comes from the square courtyard. The courtyard is called ‘Quadrum Nida’ and is accessible to all. It is planted with 12-metre high pine trees from Germany, as local nurseries did not grow the specific trees needed. The courtyard is covered with the same granite as the office floor.

The first-floor foyer houses artworks accessible to everyone (L. Kaminskaitė’s ‘Conversation’ made out of neon tubes, and ‘Illuminator’ by Ž. Kempinas, which is a ‘wall moon’ of rough concrete). Exhibitions are also held here.

13. Gorge of the hill – The Capital’s Children and Youth Centre (previously, the Pupils’ Palace)

Not everything on the architectural landscape was smooth sailing. Some ambitious projects have created public spaces within themselves, and the transitions between them are not always comfortable or convenient. At this point, the urban landscape reaches its western low point, dictated by the 1990s. The western part of the city is dominated by buildings constructed in the 1990s. When Česlovas and P. Mazuras built the post-modernist Vilnius Pioneers’ Palace with its fountain square in broken forms in 1987, they were unaware that in a couple of decades, one of the city’s biggest traffic flows would run parallel to it; this main thoroughfare created a kind of gorge.

During the independence period, the palace housed the Lithuanian Children’s and Youth Centre, known simply as the Pupils’ Palace. Now it is home to the ‘Hobiverse’ – the Capital’s Children and Youth Centre, the largest non-formal education institution in Lithuania, boasting a swimming pool and with over 100 different clubs, including aquatics, cookery, and flamenco.

In the White Hall, there is a surrealist fresco ‘The Fairy Tale’, which, according to the author Arūnas Rutkus, was almost destroyed before the palace was opened because its motives did not meet the ideological requirements of the Soviet authorities. It was design to mock – instead of the expected Pioneers and flowers, it depicts crows and salamanders.

Between ‘Quadrum’ and ‘Hobiverse’ is another office building with a bar, restaurant, and even a theatre, which used to house a strange institution during the Soviet era – the Kolkhoz (Collective Farm) Construction Design Institute.

14. K29

A significant statement piece from 2010, contributing to the ranks of most modern office in Lithuania, was the K29 building. At that time, there was a severe shortage of so-called Class A space in Vilnius for Lithuanian and foreign businesses. The buildings had to be modern, built in a prestigious location, with technological solutions made of the highest quality materials and convenient access.

The competition was won by a joint project between ‘Archinova Lithuania’ and ‘PLH Arkitekter Denmark’. The proposed oval shape solved a number of issues: it allowed for an optimal ratio between the façade and the usable area, saved energy costs, provided maximum daylight and a flexible layout. Interestingly, the building is crossed by a pedestrian passageway with a charming heart made up of an open semicircle in the roof and its reflection on the opposite façade.

K29 evolved considerably from its original conception to its final result. The inner courtyard (atrium) was originally planned to be roofless, but this design was abandoned because it would not have allowed free movement between floors and would have impaired the acoustics. During the construction process, structural innovations were introduced. Prestressed reinforced concrete and thin beams have resulted in lower floor widths and larger skylights. K29 became light and open-plan in way that had an initially not been envisaged.

The building has no right angles. This has made office planning a challenge, but as a result, some offices have become particularly original. For example, in 2022, the administrative headquarters of the ergonomic furniture producers ERGOLAIN were created, serving as both a workplace and an ‘exhibition space’, with no furniture sets that are the same, even down to different tables and chairs.

15. ‘Park Town’

‘Park Town’ consists of the ‘West Hill’ and ‘East Hill’. Originally, the owners bought just one narrow, elongated plot of land. Once the design plan drawings had been approved, they bought a second lot, so that the smaller building dictated the appearance of the larger one. The adjacent traffic viaduct provided the design challenge.

The most impressive feature of ‘Park Town’ is the roof, which undulates like the rolling hills and blends in with nature. It is the fifth façade of the building and is very visible when descending from Šeškinė, so the roof is completely ‘clean’. This required, for the first time in Lithuania, solar photovoltaic modules to be mounted on the façade walls instead of the roof.

‘East Hill’ has a lounge with free access for all and a roof terrace in the courtyard. It overlooks the Japanese garden, which was opened in spring 2023. Designed by a Japanese specialist with interesting elements such as borrowed shakkei landscapes (e.g. the Fuji volcano), the garden is worth seeing in all seasons. The terrace develops the theme of nature, with its wooden decking changing shape from plain to rolling hills and leaf-shaped oases on which you can sit or even lie down.

For the interior of the hall, a duo of grey and green was chosen, combining the ‘green’ park with the ‘grey’ city. The main motif is a plant leaf. The floor is covered with huge mosaics consisting of several metres of stone carved in Italy. Around 30 such leaves have clustered here. There is an impressive wall made of stabilised plants (plant sap replaced by glycerine). Such plants retain their rich colours and do not need watering – only occasional dusting. The columns are covered with perforated metal sheets created by Slovakian artists; each one is different because the unique pattern was created by using photographs of the leaves.

16. S7 block

S7 is an office campus located on the northern outskirts of Žvėrynas. It was built on the site of a former bakery not long ago. Despite only two Scandinavian companies being located in the whole block, around 6,000 employees work there. The first company is ‘Telia’, a Swedish company; in the 1990s, ‘Telia’ was the successor of the state-owned landline telephone network ‘Lietuvos telekomas’, which served the whole of Lithuania. ‘Danske Bank’, on the other hand, takes the lion’s share of the block. Now in its 153rd year of operation, the bank is Lithuania’s largest employer in the financial sector. Interestingly, the mascot of Danske Bank is… a scarf-wearing penguin named Pondus; in the 1960s, children in Denmark were given penguin-shaped money boxes to encourage them to save.

What makes S7 unique is that it is a city within a city, not a single office. Here, pedestrian, cyclist, and vehicular traffic flows are completely separate. It has become the unofficial location for Vilnius wedding photo shoots. The idea of S7 is to bring as much peace as possible to the most urbanised place in Vilnius. Each building has its own motif and theme mirrored across the whole space. The Telia ‘Forest’ has a meadow planted with fir trees and a forest theme inside. The dominant element of ‘DC Pier’ is water, so the interior is decorated with a 25 x 70 m graphic art piece depicting a day at the seaside. The pink ‘DC Valley’, which has a huge atrium for events, is reminiscent of a North American canyon, while the boldly coloured ‘DC Meadow’ evokes a windswept Lithuanian meadow, complete with all the fauna. The latter has some rather unique solutions, such as the ‘Swarm’ room, which resembles a countryside hut for team parties, the ‘Potato’ sleeping rooms, the ultra-professional podcasting recording studio hub, as well as walls that can be dismantled during the day, and the meeting rooms.

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Dragon’s meadow