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Lazika Municipality

Lazika, Georgia (2013)

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 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. 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. The architecture of this particular area (Mengrelia West Georgia) reflects environmental considerations. The region has high level of humidity and dump soil, so local peoples traditionally built houses on stilts with no foundation to encourage ventilation from underneath and keep the structure dry.


The site is almost at the existing mean sealevel and hence 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 1m during the next century (based on climate modeling).The water table is between 1 and 1.5 m below ground level. Our main concerns included the control of settlement due to organic layers and the control of potential liquefaction of the ground during a seismic event. The Caucasus region, in which the site is located, is one of the most seismically active regions in the Alpine-Himalayan collision belt. This seismicity is driven on a global scale by the collision of the African and Arabian tectonic plates with the Eurasian plate. Based on our understanding of the regional geology it is valid to assume one of the worst ground conditions for seismic design Ground Profile E to EC8. The water table is between 1 to 1.5 m below ground level.

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 interconnected. 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. 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. A specific appearance was given to each functional volume the transparent (public hall), the semi-transparent (wedding hall), and the translucent (offices). The public hall has clear walls on all four sides. The wedding hall is a dynamic volume where floor, wall and ceiling utilises the same material and the curve they describe brings dynamics to the adjacent terrace which lies underneath the top volume. The top volume is an enclosed mass, concentrated on the activity of office work, but it too, gives precedence to the void at its centre.


In collaboration with Architects of Invention

Team: Davit Canava, Salome Ghudushauri, Nikoloz Gurabanidze, Nikoloz Japaridze, Eka Kankava, Devi Kituashvili, Ivane Ksnelashvili, Nikoloz Maisuradze, Eka Rekhviashvili, Gogiko Sakvarelidze

Consultants - Engenuiti, Progressi, Casacalda, Arctrade, Reynaers, Anagi

Status: Built  
Location: Lazika, Georgia       
Budget: $9M
Size: 2,075 sq.m

Awards: Finalist Office Award Office Next 2013 Moscow