The completion of Bokšto Skveras is the culmination of more than ten years of design and development. The site was acquired by The Ortiz Brothers. Their vision for the site was a small piece of the city brought together again by a carefully considered design ethos. The key to our designs was to preserve a historic complex of buildings, while fully modernising and elevating them with a series of dynamic interventions reflecting the capital city’s contemporary community. The design inspiration has come from sources as diverse as the Alhambra in Grenada, the Moorish walled castle of buildings and courtyards, to David Chipperfield’s reinvention of the Neus Museum in Berlin, and the contemporary renovation of Venice’s Fondaco dei Tedeschi by OMA.
Boksto is a 13,265 sqm mixed use project in the centre of Lithuania’s capital city Vilnius. The overall complex consists of 6 buildings and large courtyards and gardens that have evolved and have been modified over a period of 500 years. Now deemed a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site, Boksto Skveras overlooks one of the oldest streets in the historic centre of Vilnius. The storied site of six buildings had been a Polish Cardinal’s Palace, a Carmelite monastery and then a Soviet hospital. This a mixed-use scheme in the truest since, from a disused 15th/16th Century UNESCO world heritage site into a bold and thriving mixed-use quarter of Vilnius, providing the city with a rich variation of programmatic functions including new workplaces, apartments, a spa, and a restaurant.
There has been considerable effort to apply passive solutions to improving the environmental performance of the buildings, while still adopting a non-interventionist approach to the historic fabric – a major challenge. The selection and layering of building materials that improve thermal insulation has been a delicate process. This combined with improved airtightness, solar control glass in double-glazed windows, and the reduction of water and energy consumption throughout, has successfully adapted the buildings to meet rigourous local and national targets for environmental sustainability. D&AD Awards Winner – Yellow Pencil Architizer A+ Awards – Special Mention
Guided by UNESCO's Article 21, SSA’s design successfully combines the historical and contemporary elements. Gothic and Baroque proportions, including vaulted corridors and the chapel nave, are retained, along with original brick walls, timber beams, and restored frescoes. The integration of new concepts and materials, such as polished Japanese steel for the tower and restaurant roof, creates a visual harmony with the Baroque spires, sky, and courtyard linden tree. In the underground spa, circular roof lights, smooth terrazzo, and white oiled oak introduce lightness and sensory contrasts. One of the more radical architectural interventions across the site has been the complete re-invention of the roofs. Instead of replacing them with traditional clay tiles, SSA proposed an innovative design using vertical steel slats that conceal glazed areas. These darkened windows, recessed behind patterned steel resembling clay ripples, maintain the roof's solid aesthetic while allowing for light-filled accommodations. This contemporary solution adheres to restoration principles while offering functional and visually appealing spaces. New electrical and plumbing services respectfully integrate with the original structure using a "box-in-a-box" approach. Architectural features along the untouched Baroque vaults house these conduits, accommodating a health club, spa, 25-meter pool, and restaurant. Minimalistic yet functional.
Modern Baroque may sound like a paradox, but Bokšto is a unique complex in a special location. Usually, after a decision to settle in the Old Town, one has to deal with parking problems and poor microclimate in the office. We have created accommodation with state-of-the-art heating, ventilation and air conditioning, lighting solutions, a spacious underground parking lot; therefore, the lessees will have not only a great historic environment but all the modern advantages as well.
Studio Seilern Architects is a London based international creative practice established in 2006 by Christina Seilern to produce exceptional architecture that lasts, working across geographies, building sizes and typologies. The studio’s design ethos is based on searching for the intelligent and distinct solution for the most complex and challenging of projects. The team thrives on the possibilities offered by the newest technologies, merging design excellence and construction efficiency. The studio’s diverse portfolio of built work spans the UK, Europe, Africa and the Middle East with a focus on cultural, educational, residential and hospitality projects.