Project: Aquatic Complex “Laguna Vere”
Architects: Shota Kavlashvili (1926 – 1995), Ramaz Kiknadze (1937-1975), Guram Abuladze (1941 – 2009)
Enginner: R. Ghudushauri
Mosaic/Painter: Koka Ignatov
Location: Merab Kostava str. 34. Tbilisi, Georgia.
Building Area: 10250 m2
The aquatic complex “Laguna Vere” is located in Tbilisi, Georgia on the right bank of the Mtkvari River, in “Sative District” on the territory of the former physical culture park.
The complex design was approved in 1965. The project was worked out by the architects Shota Kavlashvili, Ramaz Kiknadze and Guram Abuladze in the #4 workshop of the Tbilkalaproekt (Tbilisi city project) in 1967. The construction of the complex began the following year, but stopped soon. Construction was resumed only 8 years later, in 1976. On October 13, 1978 the complex was opened and it was granted the name of the Leninist Komsomol. This was the first aquatic sports complex in the Caucasus region, which responded to the international standard and would not have analogous in the former USSR. Both international and international competitions were held there. In 1982 the swimming pool was awarded the Prize of the Council of Ministers of the USSR. It was also granted the first quality award for the construction works.
Due to the density of the area, the complex is determined in one volume. The main facade is faced with the yellow colored local Bolnisi tuff, the wall is decorated with a mosaic panel by Koka Ignatov. The relief of the terrain is skillfully used for the functional separation of the spectator and sport zones. The curved arrangement of the spectator tribes is well written in the rocky landscape.
In terms of architectural-planning the building is strictly functional. On the side of the central façade the press building with commentator’s booths, tribunes for press staff and sportsmen is located. Box-office and two central entrances are also located on the same side, these entrances are connected to the 5500 spectator tribunes with ramps. Between the press building and tribunes three swimming pools are arranged:
- The large swimming pool – 50X25 m;
- Jumping Pool – 25X20 m;
- Learning pool – 25×10 m.
On the top of the jumping pool there is a 5, 7 and 10 meter jump tower with 1 and 3 meter trampolines.
Bellow the tribunes there are three more floors. On the first floor there is a small training-pool 12X8m, a gym, exhibition, press conference and presentation halls; on the second floor there are Aqutic Sports Federation office, medical and rehabilitation rooms and Sauna; The third floor is occupied by gym and athletics halls.
The building has a nocturnal-motion constructive scheme. Seismicity is calculated on 7 bales. The construction area is 10250 m2.
The complex is outstanding in terms of architectural decoration. It is particularly noteworthy the mosaic panel on the facade and intention paintings by Koka Ignatov. They are almost in original and in a very good condition. The mosaic panel is done with smalt glass technique that is no longer used in contemporary art works. It is especially important to maintain and protect this monumental-decorative element in the original state.
It is also worth mentioning the artistic solution of the jump tower. The volume of the tower is made in a coarse concrete charachsteristic for brutalist architecture. The unprocessed, crocked concrete gives a distinctive expression of the structure.
Until the very last days of its function Laguna Vere had a very important recreational function for Tbilisi residents. It was the only open skiing complex in the city center that was available for socially mediocre and low-level residents of the city. It is therefore necessary to maintain the building’s original function.
Since 2000 the building is in private ownership. It was closed in the beginning of 2014. The reason for this was the old time, amortization and non-profit. The complex suffered as a result of the flood in Tbilisi on June 13, 2015. It was completely covered with rubbish and mulch after it was not cleansed and, despite the promise, the complex has not been rehabilitated and neither is it open.
In 2015 the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation of Georgia has entered a request for Laguna Vere to grant Cultural Heritage Immovable Monument status. There is no written answer to this card yet.
This complex is one of the best examples of late Soviet modernism. The artistic and decorative panoramic designs of his artistic design are remarkable and unique examples of monumental art. Thus, for the purpose of preserving the look and architectural elements of the building, it is necessary:
- Complex status of the monument;
- Work on the rehabilitation of the building rehabilitation, which will maintain the unique architectural-style look and function of the building. The rehabilitation project shall be agreed with the Cultural Heritage Protection Council and experts of the field, which will be supervised by the rehabilitation works.
The condition of the building’s foundation and the construction of the buildings is good. Swimming pools and shower conditions are average. The tribunes are damaged. Interior is arranged. The decorative elements of the building are preserved in very good condition. The monumental decorative panes in the façade and the entrance hall are intolerable.
Author: Nini Palavandishvili (GeoAir)
Cover Photo: Simona Rota