Under the concept “Preserving dissonant residential heritage. Lessons from the Vilnius experience”, our team of researchers has visited the Lithuanian capital on March 23-24, 2023. We were interested in getting insights into the Lithuanian experience of dealing with questions of valorization and management of residential heritage, as well as to explore best practices in the regeneration and renovation of such districts. In this sense, we were interested to explore the contradictions and conflicts inherent to the process of creating meaning in specific political and social contexts, and their reflection into practice.


The program started with an Expert Workshop focusing on methodological answers to the challenges of doing research remote or/and in the context of war. Our guests were: Prof. Inge Daniels (University of Oxford), currently leading the project “Disobedient Buildings”, Prof. Dace Dzenovska (University of Oxford), principal investigator of the “Emptiness” project, Dr. Gruia Bădescu (University of Konstanz), and Mahda Foroughi (TU Delft University).


In the afternoon, we were invited at the Faculty of History of the Vilnius University by Prof. Marija Drėmaitė. Together with fellow researchers from the same university, Prof. Drėmaitė provided us with insights into the history of mass housing in Vilnius, while the presentation of Aušra Černauskienė reflected on the challenges for preservation of such districts. The case studied from Vilnius were put into a comparative perspective by the presentations of Thomas Dienberg, Deputy Mayor of Leipzig, and Juliana Pantzer, who spoke about the integrated strategies for development promoted by the Municipality of Leipzig in the district of Grünau, one of the largest mass housing districts in the eastern part of Germany.


On Friday, March 24, our team was invited at the Municipality of Vilnius, where we were welcomed by the city’s Chief Architect, Mindaugas Pakalnis, and by Rūta Matonienė, Senior Advisor of the City Landscape Division. We found out about the visions for city’s future development, as well as the practical challenges for the renovation of large housing estates. Not least, Milda Žekonytė from UAB Vilniaus planas provided us with a comprehensive presentation on the Šnipiškės district, a wooden houses area that lives now in the shadow of the city’s emerging business district. The last point on our agenda was a site visit in Lazdynai district, a mass housing district built in the 1970s and awarded with the Lenin prize, which has also been listed in appreciation for its urban design qualities.


The exchange with academics and architects in Vilnius thus mirrored some of the research questions addressed through our project, combining the focus on historical developments and institutional approaches to housing management with practical insights into urban conservation schemes and current approaches to urban regeneration. This very dense and richs program provided us with multiple lenses for understanding the some of the challenges for preservation in Vilnius’ residential districts.


› Full program



© Caner Telli