Kaunas, LT

Hito is a practice founded in 2016 in Kaunas, Lithuania. Principal architect Sigita Kundrotaite-Savickė, delves into the studio’s shift from large-scale to intimate, art-infused projects. Emphasising handcraft and local context, they blend architecture with art, focusing on human-nature themes and engaging in community-oriented volunteer work, particularly in the Lithuanian context. 

From large scale, to more sensitive projects

In the final years of my studies, I recognised the importance of practical experience. I began working as an assistant architect, mostly on heritage projects. After gaining valuable insights, I transitioned to a renowned architecture office in Lithuania. Over the years, the desire for a more intimate and personally fulfilling approach led me to establish my own practice, driven by a need for change and a return to smaller, more sensitive projects after almost 8 years of working on large-scale endeavours. I started my own practice by working on small-scale projects initially. However, my passion always gravitated towards merging architecture with art, aiming to dissolve boundaries between the two disciplines.


Finding the balance between solo work and collaborations

My daily routine is both simple and diverse. The structure of the studio is characterised by its small size, being a one-person show, and occasional partnerships for larger endeavours. The daily routine varies, adapting to the unique demands of each day, while maintaining a straightforward approach. At the beginning of any scale or type of project, I always sketch by hand. Although technology allows me to skip this step, I can't shake the feeling that without sketching by hand, I won't be able to continue with further technical work. Whenever stuck or facing a dilemma, I resort to freehand sketching—it, in a way, liberates me. I also still embrace the idea of making models. Despite abandoning it due to time and resource constraints, whenever possible, I create a sketch model. Working mostly on my own has both significant advantages and disadvantages. Juggling between site visits and design work can be challenging. Another perspective is often needed, and I highly value collaboration. Constructive criticism, in particular, is crucial for breaking free from a repetitive cycle. I actively seek it out. So I always look for any kind of collaboration with architects, landscape architects and off-course artists. Engaging in both art and architecture projects, I concentrate on designing exhibitions and collaborating with state art institutions. Important aspect of my work involves serving as a mediator between art and people.


Local context and cultures affect design

The geographic conditions notably influence my work, with the climatic zone being a crucial aspect that shapes architectural specificity. In rural areas or smaller towns, I always strive to consider the genius loci. When working extensively with wood, one of the essential and complex aspects is finding craftsmen who know and understand the traditional aspects and subtleties of the material. While contextuality and the local character are essential, I also aim to avoid imitating another era. I believe architecture should tell a truthful story, and finding this balance can be quite challenging. The cold climate strongly influences and regulates architecture in Lithuania. It often feels like making choices with tied hands when selecting materials or striving to achieve a specific form. However, at the same time, I believe that this process contributes to creating a distinctive architectural identity for the region.

The city I reside in carries a strong influence from the interwar modernist architectural history, impacting both the aesthetic and material aspects of my work. Local culture and environment play a pivotal role, and I engage with the city's historical context. When it comes to materials and construction techniques, I prioritise those suited to the local context. Local artisans, artists, and craftsmen play an integral role in my projects.

The title of my studies includes a word that holds the meaning of "human". The focal point of my work revolves around the human being and their perspective, emphasising not only their physical presence but also their role as an observer and participant. 


Human and Nature 

The core concepts central to my studio's design approach are "Human" and "Nature." These themes guide my practice, influencing how I shape designs and emphasising a deep connection between architectural elements and the human experience, as well as the integration of sustainable and natural elements. Another object combining these two themes is about the renovation of an old building for new activities studio VYNVYTIS. The conversion of the former paper factory into cultural spaces in the industrial district includes areas for gatherings, celebrations, and workshops. The inner courtyard, designed as an extension of the interior studio, serves as a focal point. Various nuances of facade colours distinguish parts of the building adjusted to different historical periods. The courtyard's architectural concept juxtaposes strict/clean forms with the softness and abundance of plant life.


I continue to engage in volunteer architecture work, participating in activities such as workshops with children and open-house initiatives. This provides a completely different perspective than the professional field. It forces architecture to be felt from a different angle, not from the architect's standpoint.

02 photo by Donatas Savickisphoto credit Donatas Savickis

01 Nemuno 7 photo by Lukas Mykolaitisphoto credit Lukas Mykolaitis 

03 Nemuno 7 photo by Lukas Mykolaitisphoto credit Lukas Mykolaitis 

04 studio VYNVYTIS photo by Lukas Mykolaitisphoto credit Lukas Mykolaitis 

05 studio VYNVYTIS photo by Lukas Mykolaitisphoto credit Lukas Mykolaitis 

06 studio VYNVYTIS photo by Lukas Mykolaitisphoto credit Lukas Mykolaitis 

07 Forest house photo by Lukas Mykolaitisphoto credit Lukas Mykolaitis 

08 STK.1 photo by Lukas Mykolaitisphoto credit Lukas Mykolaitis


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