Modernisation of Ecclesiastical Architecture in Lithuania in 1918–1940: the Churches of Architect Vytautas Landsbergis-Žemkalnis (Summary)

Milda Adamonytė (PDF)

According to the latest research on modern architecture, modern churches, Orthodox churches, synagogues, and mosques, based on new ideas, sprang up worldwide during the first half of the 20th century. However, although the phenomenon of the modern architecture of the First Independent Republic of Lithuania (1918–1940) has attracted much attention from researchers, modern sacred architecture, excluding certain objects, has remained on the margins of research. This paper aims to examine the modern aspects of the new sacred architecture of the First Independent Republic of Lithuania through the creative legacy of architect Vytautas Landsbergis-Žemkalnis.

The research has revealed that the modernisation of sacred architecture took place in the First Independent Republic of Lithuania, and the sacred architecture of Landsbergis-Žemkalnis was based on several new ideas. First, the designing and building processes of the churches used by Landsbergis-Žemkalnis suggests that the ideas of the liturgical movement may have influenced the development of modern sacred architecture at that time. Second, the faithful’s strong involvement in the process of designing and building these churches appeared. In addition, the processes reveal that these architectural innovations could only have been implemented with the community’s approval.

Landsbergis-Žemkalnis applied the same principles of modern architecture to sacred buildings, as he applied to all his architecture. His sacred architecture reveals that architects-modernists, who were inclined toward renewal, could have created a new architectural language for the sacred spaces of modern times in the First Independent Republic of Lithuania. The legacy of Landsbergis-Žemkalnis reveals that the connection between the creation of a new nation-state and the ideas of religious revival may have encouraged architects to apply new forms of architectural expression to sacred buildings and made it easier for the inhabitants to embrace these changes.

Keywords: modern architecture, sacred architecture, the First Independent Republic of Lithuania, architect Vytautas Landsbergis-Žemkalnis, analysis of the process