Australian and Spain-based firm SMAR Architecture Studio has been appointed to design Lithuania’s new National Science and Innovation Centre, colloquially known as Science Island. 

The science centre will be located within a 33,000sqm site on Nemunas Island in the Nemunas River, a short walk from Kaunas’ historic Centras district and close to its celebrated universities. 

“Science Island is an emblematic project for Kaunas that will showcase recent achievements in science and global technologies, with the aim of inspiring visitors to expand their knowledge and support innovation in these fields,” says a spokesperson for Kaunas City Municipality.

The team from SMAR made a visit to Kaunas, which they say resulted in a connection with the city that is reflected in their design. 

“Our proposal for Science Island follows the island’s topography to find a deep connection with nature and with the city,” says Fernando Jerez, SMAR’s founder and creative director. 

“On the roof, circular access points will work as public stages and natural seating areas, our aim being that the museum spills into the landscape and the park comes into the building.

“The existing landscape gives shape to the Innovation Centre, which is topped by a sloping and reflecting upper disk: a landmark for the city. This will be a new sun for Kaunas, a bright, shining sun – evidence that Science is always awake searching for new answers.”

SMAR will work in collaboration with the Lithuanian practice, UAB Architektų biuras G. Natkevičius ir partneriai.