Architect Yuri Kasradze – “TbilQalaqProekti”, first studio
Function Sports and swimming pool
Swimming pool in the Riverside Park
Swimming pool in the Physical Culture Park
Swimming pool of Dinamo stadium
In the design institute “TbilQalaqProekti“, architect Yuri Kasradze worked on a number of projects for outdoor and indoor swimming pools – on the right bank of the Mtkvari river, in the Riverside Park and the Physical Culture Park, as well as next to the soccer stadium “Dinamo”. None of them was realized. Some documentation of these projects is now stored in the National Archives.
Swimming pool in the Riverside Park
In the early 1940s, the Madatov Island, located in the central part of Tbilisi, was completely “cleaned” of existing settlements. After drying up of the right arm of Mtkvari, the construction of the main river banks and the new road was already completed. A Riverside Park was created on the former island, which also contained the tennis courts of the “Dinamo” sports club. In 1946, the Committee on Physical Culture and Sports of the Council of Ministers of the Georgian SSR approved a new order to design an indoor swimming pool for this territory. For the construction was provided an area of 4000 square meters in the park. “TbilQalaqProekti” was assigned to work out the swimming pool project. Yuri Kasradze was chief architect of the project, which was approved in the same year with some remarks.
In the document prepared by TbilQalaqProekti in 1946-47 it is mentioned that the indoor swimming pool is intended for educational purposes as well as for holding water sports competitions. The project description also emphasizes that swimming is a necessary skill for Red Army soldiers and details the benefits associated with swimming. The explanation card states that the swimming pool should operate all year round and accommodate 1300 people on a working day, i.e. be open from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. – 15 hours a day. The project should include a 4.5-meter-deep pool, a diving tower, a spectator hall, changing rooms with 100 places for men and 50 places for women. And the architecture schould match the location on one of the city’s main new highways.
The building, designed by Yuri Kasradze, has two floors. On the first floor is located a swimming pool, a dry swimming hall, storage rooms, teachers’ rooms, changing rooms, showers and a spectators’ vestibule with a checkroom. The vestibule is connected by two side staircases with the stands and loges for 600 visitors, which are located on the second floor. There is an orchestra hall, a lobby, a library with a reading room and a large terrace. In the basement there is an auditorium with projection booth, offices, buffet and technical rooms. As Yuri Kasradze states in the explanatory note: “Due to its character, the facade requires a symmetrical theater like pavilion solution with light forms suitable for physical culture, achieved with the towers protruding from the corners of the building. Wide staircases, roofs and towers give grandeur to the composition of the building, which is necessary since it will be a theater and sports complex when completed.”
According to the plan, the swimming pool was to be opened in 1948. Although it was decided to allocate two million manats for the project, the construction never started for unknown reasons.
Swimming pool on the site of the Dinamo stadium
In 1947, Yuri Kasradze planned another indoor swimming pool project, this time on the site of Dinamo Stadium. The architecture of the building resembles the swimming pool project planned for the Riverside Park, but is simple and less ostentatious in comparison. A large central staircase with symmetrical statues at both ends leads to the arched entrance. Two relatively small towers are located on the main facade adjacent to the statues.
The explanatory note states that the project was originally intended for a different site – the location is not mentioned – so all the remarks on the functionality of the swimming pool and the architecture of the facade were already taken into account in the proposed project. However, it is also noted that the architecture of the towers should be more monumental.
The indoor swimming pool Dynamo has two floors. In the basement of the building there is a buffet, dry swimming hall and technical rooms. On the second floor there is a vestibule and a chackroom for 750 guests, as well as changing rooms, showers and staff rooms. On the top floor, next to the pool, there are stands for 500 spectators and a lobby. Only 25 people can swim in the pool at the same time, and 50 during major competitions. The budget is more than two million rubles. The project was approved with the note that the capacity of the pool should be increased to 120-150 people. The board of “Dinamo” also notes that the pool hall will be used primarily for sports and educational purposes, and that the spectator stand should have space for 200 guests. The project planning was cancelled due to reasons unknown to us.
Open-air pool in the Physical Culture Park
In 1950, the Committee for Physical Culture and Sports Affairs commissioned “TbilQalaqProjekti” to develop the architectural project of the open-air swimming pool to be built in the Physical Culture park named after Stalin. This time the complex was to include three open pools and a diving tower, as well as stands for 1,600 to 2,000 guests. For the pool was allocated a place on the right bank of Mtkvari, between the river Vere and Queen Tamar (fromer Cheluskinelebis) Bridge. The architect of the developed project is still Yuri Kasradze. The National Archive stores a detailed description of the technical project and construction, as well as various files, including expert reports, which show that the civil engineers Davit Qajaia and K.I. Meskhi evaluate the building negatively.
The National Archives of Georgia also preserves the drawings and documentation of the design proposal for the indoor swimming pool on the site of the engineering factory named after Kirov in Tbilisi from 1955. (mg)