Architect Asta Prikockienė, who analysed the building on 2 Muitinės Street in central Kaunas, says that the structure dates back to the late 15th century and was reconstructed three times during the 16th century.
The building is believed to have housed the first city hall and used as the residence of Lithuania’s grand dukes and Polish kings when they visited Kaunas.
“I know not of another building in Kaunas old town with sandstone in it. In the early 16th century, they installed sandstone window sills in this building. It is not a local building material, it had to be transported from far away, which was an expensive luxury at the time, so it shows the special status of the building,” Prikockienė says.
Conservators have also discovered ceramic sixteenth-century window reliefs depicting Emperor Ferdinand I and Empress Anna Jagiellon that have been plastered over. These decorations will be restored.
“The façade will be very beautiful and, quite unusually, it will be virtually window-less, only sixteenth-century masonry that we will uncover,” says Jonas Audėjaitis, the dean of the Kaunas Faculty of Vilnius Art Academy.
By the late 19th century, the building had undergone at least six major transformations. In 1870, it was turned into a city hospital and remained so throughout most of the 20th century. A decade ago, it was handed over to Vilnius Art Academy. After the restoration, which is expected to be completed by 2020, it will house the school’s administration and an art gallery.
The budget of the restoration is over €6 million.