Fortress No. 8

Kaunas, LT
A fortress becoming a community hub


Fortress No. 8 is part of the historic fortification network of the city of Kaunas. After having lost its function as a defence mechanism, the fort became neglected and typified by pollution and crime. Through the initiative Resilient Fortress of Communities, the efforts of community members and local institutions was combined to reverse this trend.

Nowadays, the Fortress has become a lively community hub where there is a place for a wide range of activities around history, culture and nature. Through bottom-up redevelopment, the initiative not only contributes to the physical regeneration of the historic structure, but also to the regeneration of the community.


Outside city centre


Fortress No. 8 is part of the larger historic fortification network of the city of Kaunas. It is located in what nowadays is one of the most densely populated neighbourhoods in the city. Built in 1889 – 1890, the fortress was designed as a defence system, and played an important role in WWI. [1;3]

However, years of neglect had left their marks on the historic structure, and the lack of function made it into a ‘no-one’s land’ where pollution and crime started to rise. Through collaborative efforts between community members and several local institutions, this trend was turned around. [1]

Nowadays, the activities taking Fortress No. 8 evolve around the three axis of community, nature and history. Started from an objective to regenerate the fortress, effort is put into renovation and maintenance of the complex. [1]

Through the physical regenerating of the historic structure, the initiators want to create the conditions that foster regeneration of the community and local creativity. A diverse cyclical cultural programme is maintained that aims for inclusivity in terms of age, gender, income, abilities and capabilities. This programme also tries to address historical trauma and socio-economic inequality. [1]

With the fortress being located within a Natura 2000 zone, topics like biodiversity and soil and water quality are actively explored. For example, experimentation takes place with soil remediation methods that help sequester carbon and reduce pollution. In exploring topics like circularity and urban gardening, the initiators hope to make Fortress No. 8 a place that contributes to the resilience of the wider neighbourhood. [1]

The diverse and inclusive nature of all activities makes that Fortress No. 8 has become a meeting place for community members, heritage professionals, local authorities, artists and scientists. [1]


Heritage utilized
Building(s) and/or monumental structures
Resilient and Human Connected Places; New Lifestyles
Circular Economy; Community action; Entertainment; Green Space; Social inclusion; Public space


The initiative builds on a range of grassroot initiates that were using the fortress separately. A voluntary association, called Kaunas Forstress, was formed to provide more structure to the activities taking place. In a collaboration between the volunteers, the public institution Kaunas Fortress Park and the creative platform Šilainiai Project, the Resilient Fortress of Communities initiative took shape. The redevelopment of the site takes place bottom-up and is a co-creation effort of the different stakeholders involved, with continuous adaptive mediation and decentralized decision making being key. [1;2;3]


Governance arrangement
Led by citizens / community group
Organisational form
Public - Private Partnership
Stakeholders involved in implementation
Public sector institution; Non-government organisation / non-profit organisation; Volunteers

Business Model

The initiative works with very limited funds and is largely dependent on the time, effort and expertise of volunteers. [1]

In order to maintain maximum economic accessibility, most initiatives are offered free of charge. [1]


Initial investment
Type of financial resources utilized
Source of financial resources
Non-financial contributions
Volunteer effort


  1. New European Bauhaus Prizes 2021 – Case online platform. Resilient Fortress of Communities., accessed on 21-07-2022

  2. Šilainiai Project, initiative website,, accessed on 2-07-2022

  3. Kaunas Fortress Park, organisational website,, accessed on 21-07-2022