80th anniversary of the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Architecture

Origins – Civil Engineering Division of the Technical Faculty at the University of Lithuania

The Technical Faculty at the University of Lithuania, established on 16 February 1922, comprised the divisions of Civil Engineering, Mechanics, Chemistry and Electrotechnics. The Minister of Education Petras Juodakis appointed the following professors as the core staff of the Technical Faculty since 16 February 1922: Pranas Jodelė, Platonas Jankauskas, Jonas Šimkus, Jonas Šimoliūnas and Kazimieras Vasiliauskas. The studies at the Technical Faculty were not easy – until 1927, only 3 people graduated from this faculty and all of them from the Civil Engineering Division. Until 1932, 27 people graduated from the Civil Engineering Division, defended their diploma projects at the public meetings of the faculty board and acquired the title of a qualified engineer. In 1930, the university was given the name of Vytautas the Great (Vytautas Magnus University). Until 1932, the premises of the Civil Engineering Division were located in 3 Chambers and since 1932, they were relocated to the Chamber of the Physics-Chemistry Institute in Aleksotas. Prof. P. Jodelė was supervising the Lithuanian research of raw materials for cement, clays and quartz sand and significantly contributed to the development of the building materials industry in Lithuania. The faculty had a scientific journal “Techniką” publishing the scientific articles of the lecturers; it prepared and printed textbooks and created Lithuanian terminology. The Technical Faculty had a library collecting technical literature. In 1932–1937, Lithuanian students completed internships in the enterprises in Finland, Czech Republic, Latvia and Sweden and the students from these countries were coming to work in the Lithuanian enterprises. In January 1940, when the Faculties of Humanities and Law were relocated to Vilnius University, the Technical Faculty gained more premises – Chamber I of the University; there were plans to divide the Technical Faculty into the Civil Engineering and Technological Faculties.

Establishment and development of the Civil Engineering Faculty in 1940–1950

After Lithuania was occupied by the Soviet Union, on 26 July 1940, the puppet “People’s Government” adopted a new Statute of VDU changing its structure; the Statute was amended once more on 21 August, changing the name to Kaunas University. Since 15 August 1940, according to the plan prepared by the commission led by prof. Vytautas Mošinskis before the occupation of Lithuania, the Technical Faculty was divided into two faculties: Civil Engineering and Technological Faculties. Prof. Steponas Kolupaila was appointed as the Dean of the Civil Engineering Faculty. On 26 July, it was announced that student organisations are prohibited and their assets, including all their rights and obligations, are transferred to the Communist Youth Union. The students and lecturers had to listen to the lectures on Marxism-Leninism, send congratulatory telegrams to the heads of the party and government on various occasions and march in demonstrations. On the night of 14 June 1941, the Soviet occupants began an exile of the Lithuanian citizens according to the scheduled plan. A number of the University lecturers, students and employees were arrested.

During the Nazi occupation, the anti-Nazi movement was active in Lithuania, the attempts to form the SS units were unsuccessful; therefore, the occupational army occupied almost all buildings of the University and terminated studies; however; the students of medicine and technologies were allowed to complete their studies. The Dean of the Civil Engineering Faculty S. Kairys was forced to hide due to the Gestapo persecution. He was replaced by prof. S. Dirmantas. Despite various restrictions and prohibitions during the war and the lack of premises, research work continued and monographs were being prepared for publishing at the University. In 1942, the Civil Engineering Faculty published the work “Medžiagų atsparumas” (“Strength of Materials”) by prof. K. Vasiliauskas, the collective work “Statybos normos ir tabelės”  (“Standards and Tables of Construction”),  “Topometriją” (“Topometry”) by prof. S. Dirmantas, “Hidraulika” (Hydraulics”) by prof. S. Kolupaila and the 4th volume of “Statyba” (“Construction”) by prof. J. Šimoliūnas. In the summer of 1944, when the German army was moving out of Lithuania, part of the lecturers and students moved to Germany in fear of the second Soviet occupation and repressions.

On 13 November 1944, by the decree of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Lithuanian SSR, the work of Kaunas National Vytautas Magnus University was restored, including the work of the Civil Engineering Faculty and its divisions of Architecture, Civil Engineering, Geodesy, Melioration, Hydrotechnics and Roads. In the autumn of 1945, the Architecture Division was reorganised into the Architecture Faculty that was operating until the reorganisation into Kaunas Polytechnical Institute.  On 1 January 1951, the Civil Engineering Faculty was located in the Town Hall and the Architecture Faculty was located in the Grand Chamber (currently – KTU School of Economics and Business) and later, the former Insurance Chamber (A. Mickevičiaus St.) and former Bishop Chamber. The second Soviet occupation was characterised by ideological coercion and repressions. Some students, who could not accept the occupation, joined the partisan war. One of the best known partisans was a student of the Corporation “Grandis” Juozas Lukša who studied architecture at the Civil Engineering Faculty.

Civil Engineering Studies at Kaunas Polytechnical Institute

On 31 October 1950, by the order of the Minister of Higher and Special Education of the SSRS S. Kaftanov,  Kaunas National Vytautas Magnus University was reorganised into Kaunas Polytechnical Institute. The faculties of Civil Engineering and Architecture were reorganised into the faculties of Civil Engineering and Hydrotechnics (since 1962 – Sanitary Engineering). Famous Lithuanian artists Kazys Šimonis, Antanas Žmuidzinavičius, sculptor Alfonsas Janulis, stained-glass artist Stasys Ušinskas were working at the Department of Graphic Works of the Civil Engineering Faculty. After the war, the students had to help the newly established collective farms (kolkhozes). In 1951, KPI Communist Youth Committee offered the students to build a hydropower plant at “Šešupės” kolkhoz in Kapsukas (currently – Marijampolė) District. More than 700 students and lecturers of the institute took part in this project, most of them were not members of the Komsomol or Communists. The anti-Soviet moods were felt particularly often at the Civil Engineering Faculty – the students were involved in the anti-Soviet organisations, participated in Vėlinės (All Souls Day) in 1956–1957, ignored the lectures on Marxism-Leninism, sang anti-Soviet songs, were ripping the Soviet flags. Some of them were arrested for these activities, others were expelled from the institute. In May 1965, the new chamber of the Civil Engineering Faculty was opened at the Student Campus. The Town Hall and other premises of the Civil Engineering Faculty were returned to the Executive Committee of Kaunas City. In 1970, the Departments of Roads and Geodesy at the Sanitary Engineering Faculty were relocated to Vilnius Civil Engineering Institute. Since 1971, the Departments of Architecture, Settlement Planning and Management of the Civil Engineering Faculty were relocated to Vilnius Civil Engineering Institute; therefore these faculties were merged into one Civil and Sanitary Engineering Faculty. In 1988, the disciplines of heating, gas supply and ventilation, water supply and sewage and the departments curating these disciplines were relocated to Vilnius Civil Engineering Institute and the Civil and Sanitary Engineering Faculty became the Civil Engineering Faculty. In 1951–1988, the Civil and Sanitary Engineering Faculty had 8244 graduates who were appointed to work in construction, heating, gas supply and operation and water management enterprises and design institutes of the Lithuanian SSR.

KTU Faculty of Civil Engineering and Architecture

When Lithuania won its independence, on 31 October 1990, Kaunas Polytechnical Institute was renamed Kaunas University of Technology. On 12 December 1990, the University Council legalised the two-cycle study system. In 1992, a democratic Council of the Civil Engineering Faculty was elected for the first time and on 14 April, Dean doc. Henrikas Elzbutas was elected. On 2 July 1992, KTU Statute was approved at the Supreme Council of Lithuania-Reconstituent Seimas. In 1995, the Architecture and Landscaping Department was restored at the Civil Engineering Faculty; therefore, from 6 December, the faculty was renamed the  Faculty of Civil Engineering and Architecture. At the initiative of the faculty, on 8 May 1996, the title of the honorary doctor was awarded to the qualified engineer, construction specialist of large objects in Germany and other countries of the world  Friedrich Marcks who gifted personal computers and projector system to the Laboratory of Economic Mathematical Modelling in Construction Processes in the sum of 11 thousand Deutsche Marks. In 2001, this laboratory was named after  F. Marcks. In 1994, the Studies Foundation of F. Marcks was established at KTU; this foundation was awarding yearly scholarships to the best students of the faculty and later, it also awarded premiums to the best master’s students. Commemorating its 80th anniversary, the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Architecture offers study programmes involving advanced study methods and innovative technologies. The faculty develops research of technologies, humanities and arts conducted by approximately 100 educators and researchers. The faculty organises scientific conferences and traditional Drawing Olympiads of Prof. Antanas Žmuidzinavičius for pupils. In 2019, the Centre for Smart Cities and Infrastructure was opened at the faculty. The Students’ Association of the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Architecture “Statius” organises traditional events – “Guitar Evening”, Career Days, freshmen christening, etc.