Georgia is seeing the country’s biggest construction boom in centuries. A completely new architectural program – plus a governmental mission – has been launched by its president Mikheil Saakashvili. It’s a way to give a boost to the tourism industry – such as the spectacular border checkpoint and airport in Mestia, created by the German star architect Jürgen Mayer H., to name one example. But it’s also a way to create a new image of a modern, self-conscious country. New infrastructural and cultural buildings are being constructed and also a number of new Houses of Justice have been built recently or are under construction, such as those in Mestia (also by Jürgen Mayer H.), Ozurgeti, and Lasika (both by Architects of Invention). Fuksas has designed a huge House of Justice in Tbilisi and UNstudio has designed the new International Airport in Kutaisi.
The Prosecutor’s Office is another remarkable project at the north-western edge of the city centre, close to the Tbilisi court building, in surroundings that are primarily industrial. The plot is situated on the edge of David the Builder King Alley and has a parking area behind it. ‘This is not the site to design a contextual building – it could be placed anywhere,’ says architect Niko Japaridze, who used to be a senior architect at OMA, Rem Koolhaas’ bureau. ‘The client asked to design a building which will strengthen the quality of the surrounding architecture and will act as a landmark at the entrance of the city.’ The front of the building is certainly an eye-catcher, having been designed as a severe black frame within which an ensemble of glass volumes appears to float. ‘The frame represents the law and the clustered “mirror” volumes inside it represent the mirror of our society and the distillation of law,’ Japaridze explains. ‘Each function is expressed in each particular box, while they are connected through the stairs in the internal street, also completely made from glass. The core of the idea for the Prosecutor’s Office is transparency. All functions are visible to each other externally and internally.’