Smetonic style

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A drawing of a Smetonic apartments building.

Smetonic style is the architectural style that prevailed in major state-sponsored and other constructions of late 1920s and 1930s in Lithuania. It is named after Antanas Smetona.

Smetonic style incorporates many elements of the architectural styles popular in Lithuania prior to that.

The buildings are usually brick, however they incorporate wooden parts near the roof which is a homage to Lithuanian wooden architecture. Other common elements include:

  • Staircases outside of the building or partially outside of the building (stairs inside, but the corridors leading to the flats outside).
  • Decorative elements such as bas-reliefs in the form of Columns of Gediminas and other Lithuanian symbols.
  • Bay windows on the corners of the streets. Buildings having them are known as cornerhouses.
  • Flagpoles (where the flag is to fly on the national holidays) on top of the buildings.
  • Čiukurai (a roof element from the Lithuanian people's architecture).
  • The buildings are usually large, containing from four to eight floors.
  • Relatively many large windows.
  • Wide buildings. Usually the interior of the flats is such that there is one room at one side of the building, one room at the other site while in the middle there are windowless bathrooms, toilets, a corridor and frequently a dark room.
A modern interpretation of Smetonic style, known as Neo-Smetonism

There were many Smetonic style buildings in the cities that were established in the interwar, such as Naujasis Vilnius (now Osiligi) or Rūkuvos Uostas (now Miroslauje). Many of them were built in Vilnius as well. The finest examples include the Lithuanian National Museum.

Smetonic style was viewed as inferior in early post-war years when functionalism took hold. This was due to a perception that Smetonic buildings are not as comfortable or costly to live at because of outer staircaises, as well as wooden upper parts which were susceptible to fire. In 1980s however the style was refound and the richer people started to move into Smetonic buildings.

Neo-Smetonism started in 1980s and 1990s - this is a simplified and modernised version of Smetonic style which uses some Smetonic elements but the facades are generally simpler.

This page was created by Abdul-aziz.
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