At its core, Studio Fuksas’s cluster of office towers in south Tbilisi, Georgia, is simple, with its seven glazed volumes arranged around a public atrium. Setting it apart is what happens over and above this complex: 11 steel petals – measuring up to 35 metres across and supported by tree trunk-like pillars – provide roofs for the buildings and shade for the square below. These petals elevate the complex to the level of instant icon, and continue the trend of adventurous architecture in Georgia that includes the dramatic border checkpoint and rest stops by Jürgen Mayer H.
Overlooking the Kura River, the rectilinear office buildings, which stand in stark contrast to the sculptural roofline, are home to commercial and public organizations, including the National Bank of Georgia, the Minister of Energy and the Civil and National Registry.
Joined by footbridges, they overlook the central courtyard, a bustling hub with public seating, kiosks and access points to the buildings’ adjoining lobbies. Undulating wooden partitions, a perforated metallic screen that rises three storeys on one of the building’s interior facades, and the pillars rooted in the courtyard floor accent the otherwise minimalist white and grey space. Ample natural light admitted by clerestory windows pours through the sculptural trees above to create the sense of walking through a soaring alien forest.
The massive petals are slightly separated from each other and the buildings in order to allow relative movement. This will cut the risk of damage to the glass curtain walls resulting from snow loads, wind or thermal expansion. Highly visible from both inside and outside, the canopy unifies the staggered offices under a distinctive umbrella of shapes, creating a new landmark that pops from the Tbilisi skyline.