Jonas and Gediminas Lapėnai Apartment House

Address: Kauno m. sav., Kauno m., Kęstučio g. 38

The first floor of the new apartment house erected in the central part of the city was designed for shops. The rest of the floors had two luxurious apartments on each floor. In 1933 “warehouses, garages and driver apartments” were added. Between the summer of 1938 and 9 September 1939 the nine-room apartment (achieved by getting rid of the main wall separating two apartments) with a kitchen was rented by Polish Embassy. The top (sixth) floor was designed for the general use by the residents: it had a hall with a fireplace and an attic where the janitor was housed. During the early Soviet period the building served as the dormitory for the Academy of Agriculture, later – as a research institute. Following the restoration of independence the building became home to various commercial institutions.

The interior of the house is arranged in a symmetrical fashion, around the central double staircase. The minor and the main staircases were separated from each other by a decorative glass pane. The functional layout of the house was based on a hallway system. Functional zoning of the interior was adapted to urban situation. The representative part finished with dark granite plaster was built facing Kęstutis Street. Representative apartments also faced the same direction. The courtyard side of the building had kitchens with refrigeration cabinets, servants’ rooms, and bedrooms.

In terms of its modernity, size and luxury, the building could be easily put up against the most notable architectural examples of the temporary capital, such as M. Chaimson House on Maironis St., Vailokaičiai House on the Unity Square (has not survived) and others. Although the volumetric-dimensional layout of the building is symmetrical and has avant-corps on both sides, whereas the upper part of the building is crowned by a cornice, a parapet and a superstructure that covered the pitched roof, the modern look is provided to the building by a play of horizontal lines achieved by combining the pattern of metal balcony railings and the facade lines which frame the continuous window strip. The object can definitely be regarded as an important architectural landmark which shapes Kaunas’s genius loci.

Vaidas Petrulis