Lazika Municipality by
Architects of Invention

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London and Tbilisi firm Architects of Invention has completed a public services building on stilts for a city that doesn't exist yet in Georgia.

Lazika Municipality by Architects of Invention

Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili launched plans at the end of 2011 to construct the city of Lazika on a stretch of marshy land at the edge of the Black Sea. Based on the Chinese concept of an instant city, Lazika is set to become Georgia’s second-largest city after Tbilisi within ten years, as long as development goes ahead as planned.

Lazika Municipality by Architects of Invention

Architects of Invention was tasked with designing one of the first buildings of the new city: a public services office and town hall where city officials can work on the design and planning of more architecture and infrastructure.

Lazika Municipality by Architects of Invention

The form of the building comprises three steel and glass volumes propped up on narrow columns, which were inspired by regional houses that are traditionally raised above the damp earth to improve ventilation and keep the structure dry.

Lazika Municipality by Architects of Invention

"Lazika Municipality is a rectilinear experiment in the vertical displacement of solid mass," said Architects of Invention founder Niko Japaridze. "This is a series of floating objects, which should set the stage for this new city on the marshlands. The local architecture was historically stilt-supported so there is natural precedent here."

Lazika Municipality by Architects of Invention

The architect explains that the building does in fact sit at sea-level, so the design is also an appropriate response to the hazards of flooding. "The client needed to be aware of the risks associated with anticipated global warming and subsequent sea level rises which could be in excess of one metre during the next century," he said.

Lazika Municipality by Architects of Invention

The public service hall occupies a rectilinear glass volume near the base of the building, while a curved glass wedding hall is positioned in the middle and offices are located in a perforated-steel box that sails overhead.

Lazika Municipality by Architects of Invention

Outdoor staircases lead up to the first two departments from the ground and a red glass elevator connects both of these levels with the offices above.

Lazika Municipality by Architects of Invention

"The ambition of this project was to make a building as a sculpture made out of one material," Japaridze told Dezeen. "Instead of carving void-space from a cube, we have done the reverse. It is a void with volumes inserted and each volume has a fragile connection to the others, via the void."

Lazika Municipality by Architects of Invention

"When you navigate the building, the voids are felt more than the solid forms. It can be daunting at times," he added.

Lazika Municipality by Architects of Invention

The building was completed in September and was constructed in just 168 days.

Lazika Municipality by Architects of Invention

The Lazika Municipality is the latest in a string of infrastructure projects underway in Georgia.

Lazika Municipality by Architects of Invention

In the last year Studio Fuksas has completed a public services hall in Tbilisi and J. Mayer H. has constructed a civic centre and a police station in Mestia, as well as a series of roadside service stations.

Lazika Municipality by Architects of Invention

See more stories about Georgia »

Lazika Municipality by Architects of Invention

Photography is by Nakanimamasakhlisi Photo Lab.

Lazika Municipality by Architects of Invention

Here's a project description from Architects of Invention:


Lazika Municipality, Georgia, September 2012

The young UK-Georgia-based practice Architects of Invention has completed a new municipality building for a city which is yet to come into being – Lazika. This marine, economic and commercial centre was intended to be one of the largest cities in Georgia. Currently, Lazika's future hangs in the balance, as the new government decides its course of action.

Lazika Municipality by Architects of Invention

Architects of Invention, alongside engineers Engenuiti, designed a steel-structured building as a part of the development of a new city on the Black Sea coast. The brief was to create a Public Service Hall, a Wedding Hall and Municipal Offices. Work on the project began at the end of January, 2012, and the building was completed in mid-September, 2012. The building was constructed in 168 days with a progressive drafting schedule. The architects explain that the building is a juxtaposition between a building and a sculpture. It is not divided into floors but is comprised of volumes – each volume of the building can function separately from the other.

Lazika Municipality by Architects of Invention

The Site

Lazika is a newly founded city on the Black Sea coast, located on previously uninhabited coastal wetlands. Lazika is located one mile to the south of the sea resort Anaklia and 3 miles south of Georgia's border with Abkhazia. The name 'Lazika' refers to the Graeco-Roman name for the region.

Lazika Municipality by Architects of Invention

The city’s existence was announced in December, 2011 by President Saakashvili, and established upon the completion of the Lazika municipality building in September 2012. The city remains in limbo with only one building, the municipality building, having been constructed. Currently, Lazika's future hangs in the balance, as the new government decides its course of action.

Lazika Municipality by Architects of Invention

Elevated Plinths

The three volumes of this structure are all detached from the ground at different levels. Each of these three shapes are devoted to different functions. Each of these three volumes operates self-sufficiently and has its own entrance from the street but they are also inter-connected.

Lazika Municipality by Architects of Invention

The volume on the ground level is designated as the main Public Services Hall, with easy access at street level. The second volume is dedicated for use as a wedding ceremony hall with direct access to a large terrace. The third volume floats 20m above the ground and contains office spaces. Only pillars and circulation points touch the ground.

Lazika Municipality by Architects of Invention

The perforated steel-sheet-cladding finishing of the facade of the top volume bring 50% transparency and lend a solid quality to the volume at the same time. The steel frame structure is integrated throughout all parts of the design and this frame is exposed to emphasise the building's technology and spirit of innovation. The top volume have the dimensions of 35mx35m, and its downward projection describes the contours of the building - which is a parallelogram containing positive and negative space.

Lazika Municipality by Architects of Invention

Above: public service hall floor plan - click for larger image

Lazika Municipality by Architects of Invention

Above: wedding centre floor plan - click for larger image

Lazika Municipality by Architects of Invention

Above: offices floor plan - click for larger image

 

Lazika Municipality by Architects of Invention

Above: section 1 - click for larger image

Lazika Municipality by Architects of Invention

Above: section 2 - click for larger image

Lazika Municipality by Architects of Invention

Above: section 3 - click for larger image

  • amsam

    Everything about this is so sick-making. I know it’s hard to find good commissions, but to design an insanely splashy and expensive municipal building for a non-existent, government-planned city in a country with as much poverty as Georgia is terribly disturbing. The quality of the design doesn’t even matter. There has to be some ethical responsibility. How many schools could have been built where Georgians actually live?

    • Lucy Liu

      Well, not sure if you have noticed, but this web site is all about design and not political views, my dear.

      • http://twitter.com/lefunk85 @lefunk85

        But what happens when design IS politics? I think this is the case.

    • http://www.maxgerthel.com Max

      Get real. There is poverty everywhere in the world, including the US and other “developed” countries. If you think architects have any kind of political influence to stop this kind of project and redirect funds to other causes, you need to wake up.

      At least good architecture can provide a new form of income to a poor country: tourism.

      Your only conclusion seems to be that design can do nothing to make a society better, which I believe is very pessimistic and should keep you off websites like this one.

  • Derek

    It looks a lot like the Sharp Centre for Design at OCADU by Will Alsop.

  • Chris

    Alsop.

  • Dave Gronlie

    My first glance at this building reminds me of those 1950s-style gas stations.

  • jon

    The photo of it standing alone amongst the trees is probably an accurate view of what the “instant city” will look like 20 years from now.

  • http://pansterdesign.wordpress.com panster

    O O O o o o OCAD University by Will Alsop (cough, cough).

  • Avi

    I wonder if the city fathers (the client) or the architects have read Italo Calvino’s 1972 Invisible Cities. To me the irony, if not the imagery comparisons, are inescapable. At one point in the book, Calvino describes the city of Zenobia, which “though set on dry terrain it stands on high pilings, and the houses are of bamboo and zinc, with many platforms and balconies placed on stilts at various heights, crossing one another, linked by ladders and hanging sidewalks, surmounted by…” – need I go on?

  • vincent

    Well, I actually like the building. Building a city on the edge of the Black Sea actually could make sense as an economic engine for Georgia. Don’t shoot it down immediately with the old “a poor country like that could spend their money more wisely” argument, because I’m rather convinced not many of you people have the slightest idea about the economic state of Georgia.

    In this case a “wacky building without sense of context” could exactly be what the project needs. Of course I know about the failed new towns, but in the long term they also can be a success. Here (in the Netherlands) we have a lots of examples which started out as weird sterile urban experiments, but now after some decades of natural growth they are a lovely living environment for lots of people.

    I’d just like to see that city being build not on the location of that lovely green piece of nature, because if you built on it, it’s gone.

    • Chris

      I’m not annoyed by the wackiness of the exterior; I actually rather like it. It’s the cluttered, unorganised interior that’s getting on my nerves. And that coloured glass is burning a hole in my retina.

  • http://twitter.com/burtja @burtja

    I like this discussion. I like that Dezeen isn't just design porn.

  • http://www.brgstudio.com nulla

    I wonder if it’s really necessary. Not so sure. I agree with people who are critical about this project.

  • Qruz

    "The architect explains that the building does in fact sit at sea-level, so the design is also an appropriate response to the hazards of flooding. "The client needed to be aware of the risks associated with anticipated global warming and subsequent sea level rises which could be in excess of one metre during the next century," he said."

    HAHAHAHAHA

  • guest

    You can see this kind of architecture more and more in Georgia, like police office buildings, town halls, border control offices. Is this still really architecture or a pure “exercice de style”?

    I see only an object with no relation to the context. It’s self centred, a kind of expensive landmark imported from nowhere and chosen arbitrarily in a design porn catalog.

    I like the expression “design porn” read above – it seems to fit quite well with this example.