The most productive Lithuanian creator of sacred architecture Vaclovas Michnevičius designed a Neo-Gothic style sanctuary in 1934 on the piece of land acquired by reformed community on Ožeškienė Street. The face was supposed to be asymmetric, with a contoured two-phase tower. Although city’s construction board approved the draft, the Neo-Gothic Church probably did not fit in with the “modernist city” image which was important for the temporary capital at that time. After repeated considerations at the construction board, attended by architecture and art experts, it was decided that “the project cannot be built in the form in which it currently is”, and noted that the permission would only be granted if “surroundings matching the design of the church were designed”.
It was decided to submit a new draft for the church which was prepared in 1937 by then head of the city’s construction division Karolis Reisonas. The new design maintained some solutions of the previous one, including the layout of the hall on the second and the third floors, yet in terms of style, the new draft represented prevalent modernist trends at that time. It was noted by the construction board which decided to approve the new draft for the church: “The amended draft with a flat roof has smoother shapes and is publicly more suitable”. Although the composition of the building belongs to the traditional ecclesiastical architecture, due to its laconic and well-defined shapes, it can be named as one of the rare examples of interwar sacred architecture. Narrow vertical windows not only convey the architectural spirit of Kaunas in the thirties, but also adds greatness to the image of the church which is relatively small.
Exterior works were completed in 1938; however, the interior took another two years to finish. Due to Soviet occupation, the newly built school did not hold any religious ceremonies. After the war the top part of the tower was torn down, whereas the nationalised church became a warehouse for tobacco and alcohol manufacturers. Later the church became the canteen and the sports hall for Kaunas special school. In 1990 Kaunas Board of Lithuanian Cultural Heritage Protection considered the fate of the Evangelical and Reformed Church and decided that “the building should be returned to the parish and rebuilt exactly according to K. Reisonas’s draft”; however, the transfer of the church was delayed.
Paulius Tautvydas Laurinaitis