Ministry of Road Construction

Architects Chakhava, Giorgi; Jalaghania, Zurab – “SoyuzDorProekt

Structural engineers Alexandre Kimberg, Teimuraz Tkhilava

Design 1969 Construction 1970-1975

Status Cultural Heritage Site, 2006

Original function Government facility, office

Current function Bank

Current name Bank of Georgia headquarters

condition modificated

Address 29a, Gagarin st. Tbilisi
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George Chakhava and Zurab Jalaghania often state nature and special terrain as an inspiration for their famous ministry building. “Former Ministry of Road Construction is built using Space City method. Space City method was inspired by the laws of the nature itself: forests are the biggest population on the earth. Forest consists of different trees which have crowns lifted from the earth and connected by all communication trunks to the roots. Between the earth and crowns there is a lot of free space for other living beings, which create one harmonious world with the forest. Space City method uses the same principle”- says Chakhava later.

Based on the decree as of 1967 of the Council of Ministers of the Georgian SSR, the new administrative building of the Ministry of Automobile Roads should be designed according to an individual project. The construction began in 1972 and finished in December 1975. Chakhava could choose a 1.6 hectare plot of land between Gagarin street and the left bank of the Mtkvari river with extremely complex terrain and 33 meter hight difference. That was the challenge he was looking for.

The structure of the building consists of three towers (12×12 meter in plan) interconnected on different levels by two-storey horizontal hovering consoles with spans of 28 meters. They are supported by two-level, triangular metal frames. Between the towers there is a natural park built on terraced terrain. The building of 16 000 m2 covers only 450 m2 of the site.

After the fall of the Soviet rule, the Ministry was closed and it’s building was abandoned for years. In 2006 the Bank of Georgia purchased it. In the same year it was granted a status of a cultiral heritage site. After the realization of the reconstruction project by architectural Studio Defani, the head office of the Bank of Georgia was placed here. (ntch)

Translation: Ana Kiasashvili
Photos: Giorgi Chakhava personal Archive, National Archives of Georgia, Simona Rota

Literature/Links

The Ministry of Highway Construction has been included in many international architectural publications, among them neuf (1975), Time (1976), Domus (1977), process: architecture N ° 54.

Drexler, Arthur, Transformations in modern architecture, 1979 MOMA Exhibition Catalogue

Mirzikashvili, Rusudan, ‘Everybody’s Favourite’, in: Ritter, Katharina; Shapiro-Obermair, Ekaterina; Steiner, Dietmar; Wachter, Alexandra (Hg.), Soviet Modernism 1955–1991. Unknown History, Zürich 2012, S. 152–165

Warsza, Joanna, Ministry of Highways. A Guide to the Performative Architecture of Tbilisi, Warschau / Utrecht / Berlin 2013

Palavandishvili, Nini, Ministry of Automobile Roads, in: Elser, Oliver, Philip Kurz, and Peter Cachola Schmal, eds. SOS Brutalism. A Global Survey. Zürich: Park Books, 2017.

BürogebäudeAnnette Gigon, Mike Guyer, Arend Kölsch (Ed.) gta Verlag, ETH Zürich, 2019