©Julija Rukas

Barbora Jakubauskaitė

Interviewed by Agnė Sadauskaitė

Photographed by Julija Rūkas

Translated by Kristina Žiemytė

How different? Generated the substance and observed an access, from where the substance converts to protected mental image. Confronted Lithuanian and Portuguese architecture peculiarity, soon enough by this kind of experience she will be able to rethink the main practical understanding while designing in USA. Recently, Barbora’s thoughts flew over the postmodernism, national identity and interaction of architecture’s intensity. You can read a little bit more about it below:

You have studied architecture in Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, and for the master degree, you chose heritage protection in Vilnius University. Even though the last mentioned seeks to be universal and covers various sorts of heritage, it is still oriented in architecture’s heritage. While studying, have you noticed different kinds of exercitation and theoretical outlook to the same subject, in this case, architecture?

Yes. After about 1 month studying heritage protection I realised that in previous institute we mostly concentrated into how “make” the building, but in heritage protection we examined why do buildings are so important, we are exploring the matter that can’t be substantiated on meters or PANTONE palette.

During this winter’s lecture, Audrius Ambrasas remembered architect’s Louis Kahn phrase – the building must be designed, photographed and forgotten. The creation can linger for even 5 to 6 years (The building isn’t only the creation – regulations, legislations and other needs to be applied). Architects should supply a lot of, first of all, the clients and later the society expectations. All the participants put a lot of heart and soul, even thoughts (if they are professionals). So, to see when buildings start to fall, age or be ‘not the one’ is quite tricky, that’s the way how the process of forgiveness proceeds.

Heritage-protectors are the ones, who analyse what is really happening after the building is ‘forgotten’, then object becomes essential among society, but they don’t sweat about it, and the building lands in transit between values area.


foto: Julija Rūkas

Lately, you were interested in postmodern architecture. In Charles Jencks book „The Story of Postmodernism“ propose the clearest postmodernism vigour is the ability to value the history ironically, and the most obvious feature is pluralism. What kind of architecture is postmodernism?

All kind of. Brick-fielded, concrete, curved, stepped, flatted, ecological, parametric, expensive, eclectic… You name it. The main thing – it reflects all individually – every particular building is separate diplomacy, between the client and architect’s, history; it’s the detached aesthetic combination. It is plural – each individually, but not us all.

Is there any chance to find the fatal common thread, connecting narratives and people in this pluralistic ‘matter’?

Formerly particular periods had ideological stake, which was followed by the society (in the West culture). Often ideological stake also followed the architecture’s aesthetics. If the baroque church wanted to display the God’s power, architecture reflected it automatically. So, the power and the people, who possesses the currency, always regulates the aesthetics. In this case, the postmodernism is no exception

I feel like the pluralism, the mass of opinion and the expression links us all together. There is one thing – we didn’t learn how to acknowledge pluralism opinions; to shout that one is always right – too easy. Or maybe the postmodernism is over? Culture critic Alan Kirby once said, the time came then postmodernism must die and the digimodernism  have to rule, creating new metanarrative – consumerism. It creates and explains our life, attaching heroes, drawing life’s and daily goals. We need a great deal of money, fame and art. It is all reflected by modern architecture and general culture.

And how about Lithuania? To answer the question what kind of architecture is comparable to Lithuania, isn’t easy. Interwar regionalism in Lithuania was expressed directly: aptly adapting folks motives (imagery‘s, tulip‘s, daisy‘s motives). In this day they say that Lithuanian architecture (it‘s best models) is oriented in nature, maybe following the minimalistic Scandinavian traditions. Is there any sight of postmodern Lithuania’s architecture contour?

I think there is no point in searching the generality in pluralism. After the modernism (even in these days modern buildings are built), all buildings in Lithuania are marked as Lithuanian architecture contour. Considerations are still made on how the Lithuanian architecture presence itself, all we need to do is remember the last lecture with famous architects in NDG. On my mind, these kind of considerations will remain for ages, because having brand is as never before important. Formatting general view of country‘s aesthetics, huge part is based under the nature‘s condition; for example if there are a lot of clay or limestones, it will reflect on building. There are plenty of wood and rain in Lithuania (laughs). It is a bit scary to say, but timbered lodge with downhill roof, is Lithuanian architecture symbol. I say this, because I know frequent position of architects. For the Japanese people the paper or timbered buildings do not look shamefully.


foto: Julija Rūkas

The Sydney Opera was opened in 1973, and in 2007 was included in UNESCO, essentially it became the heritage even before it reached maturity. In Lithuania heritage objects must reach 50 years proving, even though, we in Lithuania have idiosyncratic case, for example: Sport House. Soviet heritage more frequently achieve appreciation in the society, so it is natural the heritage lists will develop more and more. What do you think determines recent past object materialization to heritage, some kind of museum exhibition part? Maybe this is also the modern media‘s merit?

It can be determined by many reasons. On the one hand, then the pluralism entrenched we don’t know any more what we need to protect. Which opinion is the most important? The criterion beautiful is also not a criterion if the building is abandoned. The society’s and architect’s initiated observer role and raising concern is just the tip of the iceberg. In the modern world, the need of being useful, forms the worth, but the heritage also is an exception (I am talking not only about the recent but also about the baroque and the renaissance buildings). One of the main heritage protection conditions are it’s adaptation for public use. On the other hand, for the constant feeling, everything is temporary and one day, it’s going to vanish; increases intention to protect, reserve, preserve, close down and maintain almost everything. The reconstruction of Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania was determined by this fear.

Do the postmodernistic architecture have the chance to become the heritage?

Specifically, the question can be answered when the Heritage Board values the planned destruction of Road police building next to the Ring of Hope. The 50years qualification is made to avoid the beautiful/not-beautiful evaluation. The building must be idiosyncratic and have cultural and artistic worth, for it to be saved, and to talk about the art during postmodernism period is quite complicated. Has the time came for postmodernism to be written in the history? Victoria and Albert Museum about before 5 years arranged exhibit about the postmodernism. In their published book, there is idea the postmodernism is pre-digital age and the time came to look in different directions. Looking from this perspective, postmodernism is already the heritage.

In the end of interview a bit about the future. In 1997 the F. Gehry designed museum was built in Bilbao city of Spain. This building accomplished a lot of recognition, was chosen to be one of the best modern architecture’s work, and for the city’s name, the ‘Bilbao effect’ concept arose; when architect’s work gets up the city of location to the new cultural life. The idealists at all times attempted to re-invent the wheel, now ‘to create to Facebook’. For the architects the main concern is to build the new Bilbao. Is it possible?

Of course it is possible. New Bibao is being created, but the attention is appointed very little just because the effect is disappearing, is in some sense overspent.

(Barbora shows to the wall) do you see the GMD (Street Music Day) poster on the wall? The GMD established then I was still in school, the idea of GMD was original and superb. In the 12th grade, I even gave the speech about this event (laughs). Now, GMD became one massive event, and unfortunately, as beautiful the idea was, it is languishing.

It is huge mistake to follow the same example. There is no point creating second Google, Bilbao, and Facebook. We need to develop the idea, however stupid it sounds. Bilbao could be created, but is it worth it? It is not appropriate and wrong to build new balboa, because if postmodernism and nowadays is pluralistic, the society do not want the same repeated object. Society needs alternation of ideas. The same alternation stimulates and attracts. In it’s time Bilbao has a WOW effect, because it was exclusive.

What is your ultimate goal in life?

I want to create. To create qualitative architecture.

And the qualitative architecture is?…

Then clients do not choose pink tiles… although basically they are also right.. (takes a walk down memory lane)

Postmodernistic beliefs expression?


foto: Julija Rūkas

Paskelbta: July 18, 2016

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