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SIKON

Interviewed by Agnė Sadauskaitė

Photographed by Julija Rūkas

Translated by Greta Venckūnaitė

Initially, SIKON could be introduced as the contest of architecture students and their works. On the other hand, it could also be described as the creative workshop to generate ideas. Even though, some could have heard about SIKON from various sources but others might feel that they know too little about this project or even have never heard of it. So, what really is SIKON? What sort of idea has unified architecture community for the 29th time?

SIKON started to be identified as a creative workshop rather recently. For the first 17 years it was a contest where the particants would have to send in their projects and only in 2003 SIKON changed the status to the creative workshop. First of all, it is the contest for students in  which the participants would spend 24-36 hours in the workshop creating abstract and provoking projects in the unique environment.

SIKON, started as an uprising against the standartized study programs, against the traditional relationship between the students and their professors and it annually brings the architecture community together to work alongside each other.

Even though, the contest changed thourgout the years, the idea behind it left the same: architerture students‘ desire to connect to other students, work together, share their knowledge and impact each other not to follow the standart study program rules. These are the reasons why SIKON was created and is still lives after 29 years.

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Do SIKON pioneers such as Audrys Karalius, Audrius Ambrasas and Gintaras Čaikauskas is still contributing to this project?

The founders of this contest influenced the development of Lithuania’s architecture identity and certainly the development of SIKON. Since the very beginning, these people are still important for the development of this project. Their contribution to SIKON is starting with advising the organizers about the subjects or classes for the students, to evaluating the final projects.

It seems that lately the most discussed subjects are the public spaces of a city and whether to build a monument for a historical figure there or not. On the other hand, this year you have declared ‘if not the river then what?’. What was the reason of choosing the city’s river Neris to be the main motive this year?

Discussions about the city and its river periodically come to the surface for many years already and this subject has loads of controversial opinions. This year we wanted to provoke the architects and the community to discuss and work on the following subject ‘Are we satisfied with the current state of our rivers? Do the shores of our rivers meet the criteria of esthetics and are functional at the same time?’ We encouraged the architects to look at our river’s concrete shores in another angle and think about different approaches of the urban planning that we might create.

Usually, SIKON is related to the certain places and areas but this time SIKON was bound to an idea. Vilnius and its rivers were chosen as a standard example, however, every other city with a flowing river in Lithuania faces the same problems and challenges.

On International Architect’s Day, Neris shore reconstruction project was presented and we are happy to announce that this year the event was very successful – there were plenty of people gathering on the shores of Neris, shortly – the ‘river’ was flowing again.

During SIKON XXIX you organized the creative workshop, invited the people of the city to tours and discussions. Did any ideas that you have generated in this event were materialized?

The tour was introduced this year as a way to involve the community into this project and it proved itself to be useful.

Together with the architects M. Šiupšinskas, A. Karalius, R. Palekas, T. Grunskis, M. Marozas, historian D. Pocevičius, artists A. Novickas, N. ir G. Urbonai and the activists from  TEKA, we observed the river in variety of aspects. Later on, the participants had 24 hours to implement their ideas in their projects and present them.

This year we have decided to introduce the common rules of the models (50 x 50 x z). The participants presented their projects to be completely different from the current state of the river‘s shores. The works were emotional, representing the fragile link between the river itself and its micro-organizms.

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People seem to be getting more aware about architecture as a form of art thanks to the projects such as Architekturos fondas, OpenHouse Vilnius and of course SIKON. Why is it important to discuss about architecture in general, keeping in mind not only the buildings but also infrastructure and urban planning?

Perhaps, the main reason what encouraged the architects to educate and get people more involved in architecture is the understanding and expectation gap between the consumers and the project creators. People need to be educated what is good, quality architecture and we should be responsible for our projects and our community.

And finally, should we expect SIKON XXX?

SIKON is hoping to meet more bright people and generate new ideas how to make our environments better next year, which would be the 30th anniversary of this project.

Paskelbta: December 30, 2017

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