Parliament's buildings

The Parliament’s complex currently consists of three buildings. The construction of Building 1 of the Seimas on the site of the former stadium began in April, 1976;

 

Site of the former Youth Stadium Žalgiris (1950), where Parliament buildings now stand.
This image comes from the stock of Visual and Audiodocuments Unit of the Lithuanian Central State Archives, 1999.
Image editing by Darius Gudukas, 2002

 

the project developed by ar­chi­tec­ts Al­gi­man­tas Nasvytis and Vy­tau­tas Nas­vy­tis was in line with the order: the new building was to house the Supreme Council of the Li­thuanian Soviet Socialist Republic. During that period, the Parliament, which still directly depended on the Com­mu­nis­t Par­ty and the legal acts passed by the Supreme Council of the USSR, was just a “decoration” of the Soviet order. Selected by sex, nationali­ty, education, pro­fe­ssions, membership in Co­mmu­nis­t or Young Communist or­ga­nisa­tions, the local trade union, so-called de­pu­ties used to convene two or three times per year and voted on the draft legal acts already submitted. Undoubtedly, this was an imitation of government, a spectacle. Indeed, the main lobby could remind one of a the­at­re. Such thoughts are possible even today, upon entering Building 1, although it is already adjusted to the everyway work of members of the Sei­mas and employees of the Office of the Sei­mas rather than to occasional conventions. The construction of the building, the total area of which is sq. m. 9717,37, was completed in 1980.

 

Fragment of the lobby in Building 1 of the Seimas: stairs leading to the historical Hall of the Act of 11 March. The lobby is adorned with the stained glass window by artist Kazimieras Morkūnas, entitled Šventė (Feast)(8x22 m), created in early 1980s. It is composed of realistic and allegorical figures. The centrepiece of the composition is a woman with a child symbolising motherhood. The lower part of the stained glass window contains figures symbolising research and art. This lobby is presently used for holding exhibitions.

 

Most of the premises in Building 1 serve the needs of the Members of the Seimas and their assistants. Prior to the reconstruction of Building II, the 12 m high and 673.52 m2 large hall situated in Building I served the legislative branch as the main plenary chamber. It was in this hall that the statehood of Lithuania was restored on 11 March 1990. Presently, the Hall of the Act of 11 March serves to host solemn meetings commemorating the most important events in our national history.

 

Hall of the Act of 11 March. The tapestry by Kęstutis Balčikonis adorning the hall features Vytis,
the coat of arms of Lithuania, against the cross on the backdrop

 

The premises also contain conference halls and meeting rooms, including the Algirdas Mykolas Brazauskas Hall (2nd floor), the Hall of the Council of Lithuania (2nd floor), and the Constitution Hall (3rd floor). The latter often hosted major press conferences after independence was proclaimed in 1990.

In addition, in 1993–1997 the western wing of Building 1 gave temporary shelter to the Institution of the President of the Republic of Lithuania. Now, as in 1990–1992, it again houses the offices of the Speaker of Parliament and his Secretariat.

 

Buildings 1 and 3 of the Seimas. Aerial view from Gediminas Avenue. In the 1970s, the administrative buildings erected nearby served a different purpose

 

In Soviet times, the building at the Ne­ris River hosed the Ministry of Finance (architect A. Gu­dai­tis, currently – Building 2 of the Sei­mas) and the other, which is beside Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania – the Central Council of Trade Unions (architect Česlovas Ma­zū­ras, currently – Building 3). Upon the re-establishment of the independence, the continuous work of the Parliament not only required additional space, but it also had to make ratio­na­l use of the Soviet inheritance.

The mentioned three buildings have been joined by the side entrances cu­t from Building 2 and Building 3 to the main lobby of Building 1 of the Sei­mas.

 

Building 2, the white one, was attached to Parliament Building 1 (on the right, view before reconstruction).
View from Goštauto Street

 

Building 2 (Goštauto Str.), with an overall area of 8,734.53 m2 after the reconstruction in 2007, holds the new Seimas Plenary Chamber. The premises also house the Office of the Seimas; guided tours usually start off from Building 2. The premises offer ample workspaces for the media, including the Press Conference Hall, the Journalist Room, and interview stands.

 

The new Seimas Plenary Chamber, one of the most modern parliamentary halls in Europe, was opened on 10 September 2007

 

The Plenary Chamber construction took account of the political, technological, moral, and economic needs for a new Plenary Chamber as well as the IT challenges and high quality of information exchange. The chamber holds separate seats for Seimas visitors (guided tour groups and voter groups daily visiting the Parliament), journalists, and official guests. The chamber is 1,287.8 m2 large and 8 m high.

The construction was performed by YIT Kausta, AB which proposed the most successful bid in the tender announced by the Seimas for the construction of the new plenary chamber and the reconstruction of Building 2 of the Parliament. The project authors are architects Algimantas Nasvytis, Vytautas Nasvytis, and Juras Balkevičius.

 

Fragment of Building 2 after the reconstruction (Seimas Plenary Chamber). View from Gediminas Avenue

 

Building 3 (Nepriklausomybės Sq.) houses the committees of the Seimas, technical services, and the restaurant of the Seimas. The total area of the building accounts to 8,623.94 m2.

 

Building 3 of the Seimas stands next to Building 1. View from Martynas Mažvydas National Library

 

Author of the monument with barricade fragment: Kęstutis Kisielius. View from Goštauto Street.

 

During the commemoration of the 17th anniversary of the tragic events of January 13, the January 13 Memorial was opened near the western façade of the Seimas premises. The glass construction covers the fragment of the barricades that had surrounded the parliament, referred to as the Heart of Lithuania, and a roadside cross.

 

 

The first fragment of stained glass Žalgirio mūšis (The Battle of Grunwald) was opened in Building 2 of the Seimas on 18 July 2011. The author is Prof. Kazimieras Morkūnas who also authored the stained glass window Šventė (Feast) that currently decorates Building 1 of the Seimas. The idea to immortalise the Battle of Grunwald in stained glass was conceived almost three decades ago, at the time when the parliament building was under construction.

 

Reference:
Lietuvos Seimas: iliustruota parlamento istorija (XX a.). –
Vilnius: Seimas publishing house Valstybės žinios, 2001. – P. 81-84.