The first building to be constructed in Lazika had to be a municipal building, where work on the urban development for the future city could take place. After all, Lazika is intended to become one of Georgia’s largest cities. At least that is what the client, the Ministry of Justice of Georgia, is hoping for. ‘We wanted to maintain a close connection to the natural surroundings: the wetland environment,’ said Niko Japaridze, co-founder of Architects of Invention. ‘In these kinds of damp, marshy environments, the traditional huts were built on stilts rather than a foundation. This kept the houses dry, and ventilation was provided from beneath.’
This was the springboard for creating a series of floating objects that hark back to the local architecture in these wetlands. Yona Friedman’s ‘Spatial City’ also served as inspiration. The Hungarian-born French architect built floating cities on massive pillars, an idea put in practice in some of the world’s largest cities in and around the 1960s. In the Georgian project we also see various structural volumes which are supported by a steel frame that is integrated into all parts of the design.
“The challenge was to create a sculptural building out of a single material. Because time was extremely tight – the 1500 m2 municipal building was built in just 168 days – prefabricated steel was the best solution. This is therefore the first building in Georgia clad entirely with steel sheeting, with the structural volumes ‘floating’ on a steel stilt construction,” explains Japaridze. For the three individual volumes, the stairs, and the lift, however, Reynaers’s CW 50-SC and CS 77 glass systems are used.