Contemporary Buildings Worth Seeing
The Bridge of Peace
Kind eyes have likened the wavy glass roof over Tbilisi’s bridge to a piece of sushi, others nicknamed it the ‘Always Ultra’. Questionable nicknames aside, the real stars on display are the bridge’s 6000 plus LEDs. As well as twinkling above the Kura River at night, the lights carry a hidden message. Every hour elements in the periodic table are rendered in Morse code. Plus, step on the bridge’s walkway and it’ll light up just for you; all thanks to clever lighting designer Philippe Martinaud adding hundreds of motion sensors to the bridge.
Prosecutor’s Office Tbilisi
At first glance it seems architects have created an elaborate game of monochrome Tetris with this building. Except the designers weren’t playing with the plans on this one. The focus on ‘transparency’ due to Georgia’s history of corruption means the offices were made to be visible to both the public and workers inside the building. Designers used staggered boxes to build rooms that seem to float in space and each ‘box’ contains a specific department within the Prosecutor’s office. Head over to the North-Western edge of Tbilisi after dark to see the building illuminated in all its glory.
Presidential Administration of Georgia
Imagine a world where a futuristic space egg lands on top of the White House. That, in essence, is Tbilisi’s Presidential Administration building. The lavish five year build, overseen by Bridge of Peace architect Michele De Lucchi, wasn’t occupied for long. In 2013, just four years after its completion, incoming president Giorgi Margvelashvili offered the building to a newly opening university.
Rike Park Music Theatre and Exhibition Hall
Sat in the shadow of the magnificent Presidential building, Rike Park’s theatre is described by its architect Fuksas as a ‘periscope to the city’. Two long metallic tunnels house the 566 seater music theatre and exhibition hall. One of the tunnels overlooks the Bridge of Peace, while the other overlooks the park. Tip: While you’re in Rike Park, look out for the oversized sculpture of a white grand piano.
‘Leaning Tower of Tbilisi’
Puppeteer Rezo Gabriadze is a Georgian national treasure. His shows held in the Rezo Gabriadze Theatre (in the old part of Tbilisi) have been the talk of the town for decades. But it’s the recent addition to the building that’s now drawing crowds. Gabriadze’s wonky clock tower is a welcome playful break from the sleek metallic lines seen elsewhere in the city. A single steel beam props up the tower – which looks like it may collapse at any second. Added in 2011, the tower was built from scraps of buildings destroyed in a major earthquake.
Georgian billionaire and former prime minister, Bidzina Ivanishvili, has set up home in the hills of Tbilisi. His £30m mansion was described by The Telegraph as the Georgian capital’s James Bond House. Taking a decade to build, the 10,000 square foot futuristic complex houses a tower – complete with a cafe constructed inside a giant steel ball, a private zoo and an art collection rumoured to be worth $1bn.
Coming soon: New Tbilisi Zoo
After the devastating flood that hit the headlines across the world, Tbilisi is getting a new zoo. The flood left the zoo in a state of disrepair, leading to calls for a new home for the animals. Due to open in 2018, early designs show a sweeping futuristic building near the coast. Combining elements of a safari park with six animal collection zones, the estimated $60m zoo will span 48 hectares, making it one of Europe’s largest zoos.