The apartment house built for the Director of Drobė company Juozas Daugirdas was one of the latest works of the prominent interwar Lithuanian architect Vladimiras Dubeneckis, which shows his change of focus from classical to modern architecture. The building definitely enriches the unique collection of residential houses built in Kaunas during the interwar period. Unfortunately, this former luxurious architectural object of unique Kaunas modernism has now been strongly neglected.
The construction began in 1930, following the tearing down of old buildings that stood there before. The works were completed in a year. The first floor housed commercial premises, second-fourth floors – six luxurious apartments (two on each floor), whereas the fifth floor – the shelter – had two lower-class apartments. The Daugirdai lived on the third floor. In 1933 Elena Daugirdienė gave permission to build a two story house with a garage outside. The draft was drawn up by engineers V. Kopylovas and L. Jankovičius.
The object is symmetric, built around the staircases set out in the central axis, as well as the elevator which is currently non-functional. Representational residential spaces are facing Vytautas Avenue, whereas the bedrooms, the storerooms and the kitchen, which leads straight to the staircase to the storerooms, face the yard. The part that stands out aesthetically is the facade. Decorative elements (“national style” tulips) used in moderation do not overwhelm the modernist expression. Picture bay windows which, “together with large first-floor showcase windows, were a significant technical achievement in Lithuania at that time” are an especially modern-looking and visually attractive element.
When the house was nationalised during the Soviet period, the first floor became home to Maistprekyba’s stores, whereas the other floors were refurbished into apartments with shared kitchens. The floor layout of the building changed as well – many apartments were split into two smaller ones. Only one intact apartment remained on the third floor, where the Daugirdai family lived. In 2006 the building still had retained quite a lot of its authentic interior details: flooring made out of parquet (waxed instead of varnished ever since the erection of the building), corner bay window (the main room), bathroom and toilet tiles, bathtub, foldable doors connecting the main rooms with the corridor, radiators, lamp and even authentic bedroom furniture of J. Daugirdas (kept by a shared owner of the apartment – J. Daugirdas’s relative).