A Soviet-era public square has been redesigned in the Lithuanian town of Jonava. To make this outdoor space attractive again, the planners also made use of the aesthetics and proven properties of Terca pavers.

Project details

Project Santarvė  Square in Jonava, Lithuania
Client Jonava Local Authority
Architects JSC “Jonavos projektas”, Živilė Sakalauskienė (implementing architect), Alfonsas Petrokas (project manager)
Clay pavers used Dresden, Lübeck, Wettin, Niedersachsen
Format used 200 x 100 x 52 mm
Area laid 2.400 m2

Bird view of Santarvė square in Jonava, Lithuania

Santarvė square in Jonava, Lithuania

Santarvė square in Jonava, Lithuania

Santarvė square in Jonava, Lithuania

Santarvė square in Jonava, Lithuania

Santarvė square in Jonava, Lithuania

Santarvė square in Jonava, Lithuania

Santarvė square in Jonava, Lithuania

Clay pavers in detail

Santarvė square in Jonava, Lithuania

The history

The square in Jonava came into being during the Soviet era with rather more spontaneity than planning, when several public administration buildings were built on an adjacent street between 1960 and 1970. In line with the traditions of the time, a sculpture of Lenin in red granite also had to be installed on the main square, but this was later removed following Lithuania‘s independence. Today, the square is bounded on its northern side by the cultural centre and local authority buildings. There is also a court building, which still bears the architectural signature of Stalin‘s era, an art school and a very busy road in the immediate vicinity.

A new place to meet and rest

The original square was paved with concrete blocks and red granite slabs up until the renovation, but the passing years had left their mark. Signs of physical wear, unevenness, cracks and damage could be found across the large square, which had slowly become less prestigious. The aim of the refurbishment was to make the square greener and more pleasant, thereby restoring its attractiveness as a place to meet and rest. The parking problem around the square was also to be addressed by creating new parking spaces and rearranging the pedestrian flows to best effect.

Architects Alfonsas Petrokas and Živilė Sakalauskienė opted for clay Terca pavers as their paving material of choice. The decision was made on the basis of the products’ attractive aesthetics and excellent technical properties:
 
Terca pavers are able to withstand mechanical and chemical influences, are particularly durable, and offer excellent anti-slip characteristics. In addition, they deliver very good performance values in terms of rainwater seepage. The natural building material of clay was deliberately chosen to make the square “more human” and comfortable. The natural, rich colour of the Terca clay is eye-catching and forms a lively contrast to the predominantly grey surroundings.
 
The use of four different colours and a somewhat complex laying pattern helps to create dynamism in the public domain. The central, open area of the square is also used as a performance venue for events. The sculpture of Lithuania’s great humanist and reformer, Abraomas Kulvietis (1510–1545), which was erected to mark the 1000th anniversary of Lithuania in 2009, is a dominant feature. The linden trees in the northern section of the square were planted on the occasion of Lithuania’s accession to the EU. Lighting, green spaces, benches, and a series of water fountains were also put in place to make the main square more attractive and cosy and further landscaping of the area is planned. In its capacity as client, the local authority also placed great emphasis on the absence of barriers and had ramps installed to make it easy to overcome differences in levels. To the architects’ regret, however, the budget was cut midway through the building works and forcing them to use cheaper building materials for the edging walls and fountains. Nonetheless, once the project was complete, everyone agreed that the use of pavers had given the square the desired cosiness and a lasting beauty.

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