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, Georgia.

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Project description

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.

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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. Architects of Invention co-founder Niko Japaridze explains: ‘Lazika Municipality is a rectilinear experiment in the vertical displacement of solid mass’.

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‘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,’ says Japaridze. He cites Yona Friedman’s ‘floating city’ as the main correlation point for this project.

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The ambition of this project was to make a building as a sculpture made out of one material. The suspended volumes create public spaces, separated from each other, forming a monument, and saliently, a benchmark for the new architecture of new futuristic city. Our priority here was the void, not the mass – we began with the empty space – since this is a project of the future and there is no memory to which solid mass might refer. 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. For example, there is a red glass tube (the elevators) connecting the lower floors with the top cubic volume – so the experience is of transition, as though through red lens. When you navigate the building, the voids are felt more than the solid forms – it can be daunting at times.

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Paul Grimes, director of Engenuiti, describes the structure: ‘The structural frame is constructed from steel, utilizing a series of raking steel columns to produce the dramatic floated upper platform. Challenges include the seismic conditions and the sympathetic employment of local skills to achieve what will be an iconic statement of architectural ambition’.

Architecture: Architects of Invention

Photography: NAKANIMAMASAKHLISI PHOTO LAB

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