Vilnius Concert Hall Competition



Winning entry by Arquivio Architects (image © Arquivio Architects)


The Process


In July 2019 the Vilnius Concert Hall competition jury began its deliberations to identify a suitable design for this major performing arts project. As one might have anticipated, two of the  jurors on the seven member panel, Ole Gustavsen (Snohetta) and Andreas Cukrowicz (Nachbaur Architekten) had won high profile competitions for similar music center projects—in Oslo and Munich.  The jury was confronted with a formidable task, as the competition, organized according to UIA regulations and anonymous in its format, had attracted 248 entries from around the world. For this one-stage competition, the organizers listed the following evaluation criteria, whereby the order of the criteria was not to reflect any priority:


• Overall concept and architectural expression;

• Urban qualities;

• Architectural quality and originality;

• Organization of the room program and functionality;

• Acoustic quality of the Grand Hall;

• Potential to implement the project in the given economical frame; potential of ecological and environmental performance


It is interesting to note that although models of two entries and the identification envelopes of two other entries were missing, the jury decided to evaluate all of the entries, even though some had not respected height limits or deliberately changed the construction site. Justifying this, the jury decided that “all entries could be evaluated on the basis of the submitted material despite missing graphical presentations…and tolerated all derogations as those propositions contributed to a better understanding of the site.”


At the conclusion of the first round of judging, 115 projects were dismissed for one, more or all of following reasons: 


• lack of clarity of the overall concept

• inadequate scale of intervention and integration in the site

• complicated volumetric composition

• lack of architectural quality


At the conclusion of the second round, 84 projects were dismissed for one, more or all of following reasons: 


• overall concept

• integration in the site

• architectural concept

• functional aspects


After approximately half of the remaining entries were dismissed in a third round, 25 entries still remained for examination in a final and fourth round to narrow the group down to 12 semi-finalists. From these, the jury agreed on four finalists to be reviewed in detail. In this case additional criteria were added to the mix, with the identities of the architects still not known:

Arquivio architects, Madrid, Spain (winner)
Fres architects and planners, Paris, France (2nd Prize)
UAB Paleko Archstudija, Vilnius, Lithuania (3rd Prize)
SMAR Architecture Studio, Perth, Australia (Honorable Mention)


General Remarks

The jury readily admitted that the height limits and site restrictions posed by the brief probably affected the number of entries one would usually encounter for this type of project. The jury’s flexibility was demonstrated in their choice of the the winning entry: Arquivio Architects solution, not to locate all of the functions under one roof, was unique among the finalists. It was also notable that the performance venues for all of the finalists were essentially in wood. This would have posed no problem for the two above-mentioned jurors, as both the Oslo Opera House and future Munich Concert Hall interiors were primarily of wood. Still, the configuration of the main concert hall showed a diversity of ideas, not all following Hans Sharoun’s frequent recipe for the Berlin Philharmonie concert hall. Moreover, one wonders how the Third Place winner’s rather traditional three-balcony formula for that concert hall plan could fit into the program’s height restrictions.


Finally, the jury was clear in suggesting that another competition for a landscape plan be implemented to address the integration of the landscape with the buildings.


A more extensive report from the jury can be found at:



1st Prize



Arquivio Architects, spain
Head architect:

Daniel Fraile Ortiz. Doctor of Design Architect

The authors of the project:

Juan Jose Soria Rodriguez – Partner architect
Alberto Jose Romero – BIM Architect
Ricardo Catalina Manso – Interior Designer
Eduardo Lizarazo – Corporate designer
David Moreno – BIM Architect

Anai‘s Garcia – BIM Urban designer
Gonzalo Lopez – Architecture student
Cecilia Gomez – Architecture student
Lidia Altillo – Architecture student
Jeronimo Espada – BIM Architect


View of concert hall in distance


View of concert hall in distance










Images © Arquivio Architects



2nd Prize



Fres architects and planners


(Laurent Gravier+Sara Martin Camara), France

Head architect:

Laurent Gravier

Sara Martin Camara

The authors of the project:

Sara Martin Camara
Laurent Gravier
Nicolas Marillaud
Berangere Pradines
Francois Vandewalle
Hugo Moy

Miguel Andreu
Loris Moia







Images © Fres architects and planners



3rd Prize



UAB Paleko Archstudija, Lithuania 

Head architect:

Rolandas Palekas

The authors of the project:

Rolandas Palekas
Bartas Puzonas
Alma Palekiene
Ugne Morkunaite
Radvile Samackaite
Karolina Burbaite
Arturas Certovas
Rokas Stasiulis






Images © UAB Paleko Archstudija





Honorable Mention



Smar Architecture Studio, Australia Head architect:

Fernando Jerez

The authors of the project:

Dr. Fernando Jerez
Belen Perez de Juan
Bradley Milis


Sung Hwan Ahn
Tsz Ching Chan









Images © Smar Architecture Studio