Succesfully subscribed to our newsletter

2013 08 06-09 : Skirsnemunė - Diary of Travelling Architecture Workshops | 12

AUG 2013

Skirsnemune, a beautiful village settled along the Nemunas river, was perhaps the most miscellaneous from all the sixteen stops the non-commercial educational project Travelling Architecture Workshops had visited. The population of the village is unique and diverse consisting of Catholics and Lutherans, spreading Romany community, and German visitors in summer time.  Yet Skirsnemune has a rich history of 700 years and probably only graves of Lithuanians, Germans and Jewish people could tell it all…

But let’s come back to today and watch a green little bus rolling in at the central square of the village, where all the main buildings such as school, library, center for culture, and shops are located. This is the place where volunteers of Architecture [kids] fund meet up with the most eager kids of the village – and so the long evening full of stories, laughs and walks along the river beach starts. After hearing all the stories and walking all the 4 plus something kilometers from start to finish we were finally resting in the culture center building where we were warmly welcomed by Dainora Sauleniene, the principal of Jurgis Baltrusaitis school.


The next morning appears to be bright and sunny and… full of kids! There are around 25 of them in the courtyard – and actually only lucky ones could get in after a selection the school has made.  It’s indeed a big number for six of us – volunteers – but the work starts without a hustle: in the beginning we spare time to getting to know each other and the area, we also make a little introduction under our big tent about who we are and what we do, and then we start for real!

This time kids are around thirteen-fourteen so we are able to make a bit more serious investigations with the very important topic on the table – a Public Space. “What is the structure of public spaces, what makes them distinct, why the road net is important, what makes space cosy and attractive yet not private, maybe there might also be some transformations?” – that is how our talk with kids look like.


After discussions, walks, map making and other serious businesses kids have distinguished two possible places for future project. The first one is hidden behind the fence of the St. George church and has been chosen because of the marvelous panoramic view to Nemunas river valley. Kids suggest turning it into a peaceful space for meditation and rest. The second one is a small tree-shaded area close to the school and kindergarten. The first place turned out to be a bit problematic so all the energy and thoughts were focused on the second one, emphasizing three possible parts of the space: an opened path which gets flooded time by time, a tree colony which might be a good place to sit and relax, and a nice tree-shaded space behind, along the kindergarten fence. We have spent all evening discussing but the strict planning process is a huge part of success!

The second day starts with quick exercise before going to search for materials for our project. We are lucky: a local shop gives away some wood palettes, there is also a plenty of old unused kindergarten furniture, a little bit of wood and metal – we are ready to use it all.  Meanwhile kids are looking through an inspirational book Architecture [kids] fund has prepared and are fascinated by the idea of swings around the trees. Swings it is then! We have also decided to use a tree colony as place for kids to sit and have lunch after school, and that’s how all the hard work has started. Kids are allowed to participate wherever they find it the most interesting so that after making something themselves they would feel responsible to maintain and take care of that object. This is the philosophy we try to spread.  A process itself is really crucial too whether it is deciding what to do with accident black paint on red chair or an understanding why you are forging nails exactly on that spot and what is it going to hold. 

But let’s juts leave work for a minute and have some fun. A very hot day needs to be reconsidered so a water fight is announced! One team is ‘defending’ a bridge while the other has to break through. And the winner is… the one who is the least wet, of course.  After such a refreshing shower we keep on working: frames of old school chair becomes a base for wood platform while wooden parts of chairs goes for building swings. On the third – and the last – day we fix drainage system of the path, finish our new fresh and recycled lunch table, and hang the swings (which can fit up to 4 people!). But that’s not all yet: to boost up a poetic spirit girls made an osier ‘tunnel’ – an art peace from simple and easy materials. I guess our mission in Skirsnemune was one hundred percent implemented.

While presenting their weekend project to parents and community, kids were a bit shy but really proud, and were singing a final song with an invincible bright optimism – because everything is possible. Those three days not only taught them creativity, responsibility and public spirit but also showed that if you work together for the common goal, you can achieve amazingly a lot.

Skirsnemunė (Jurbarkas district)

August 6-9, 2013

RESULT: an often-used path was fixed by adding drainage system, building a little “bridge” above the most flooded part; a platform a.k.a. lunch table was built next to the path. Also, swings were built and hanged nearby with an art object from osier created to give a sense for the new public space.

VOLUNTEERS: Algimantas Grigas (kuratorius), Karolis Grigaitis, Justė Jasinskaitė, Rasa Cėplaitė, Danguolė Ručinskaitė ir Gintaras Sasnauskas.

IN-PLACE COORDINATOR: Skirsnemunės Jurgio Baltrušaičio pagrindinės mokyklos vadovė Dainora Saulėnienė.

PARTICIPANTS: Edgaras, Benita, Greta, Raminta, Monika, Adomas, Linas, Karolis, Gintaras, Milda, Ieva, Justė, Augustas, Viktorija, Raimonda, Gabija, Mantas, Austėja, Lina, Kristina, Samanta, Arnė, Gintarė, Mantas ir Justas.

CONTRIBUTORS: assistant school principal for economy Edita Lendraitienė, a school chef Daiva Pranaitienė, and craft and technologies teacher Vidas Burba. 


Travelling Architecture Workshop - the first large-scale project by Architecture [Children] Fund, which took place in 2013 during the summer holidays. It aims to draw children and village residents attention to the everyday human environment. The project seeks to demonstrate that to take care of the public environment and to foster real changes could be done without a lot of material and human resources.



Architecture [Children] Fund is a volunteering based initiative that develops and implements educational programs for children and youth about architecture and living enviroment.