Project: “Peace Monument” Rehabilitation Project and Facilities
Customer: Kazbegi Municipality
Total Area: 7745 sq.m
Building Area: 445 sq.m
Authors: IDAAF Architects | Saxon Management Services
Location: Gudauri, Georgia
The Gudauri ski resort is located 120 km north of Tbilisi, an altitude of 2196m above sea level. The number of visitors to the village increases annually, with tourists drawn by the interesting slopes and impressive views only a short drive from the capital. During the ski season (from late November to April) Gudauri is working full-time. Hotels, cafes and restaurants are usually fully booked, and there is rising demand for comfortable and interesting places.
The “Peace Monument,” located 3.6km from Gudauri, was designed by well-known Georgian architect Giorgi (Gogi) Chakhava. He is also the creator of the iconic “Ministry of Roads” in Tbilisi (now the head office of the Bank of Georgia).
The monument is located on a high hill, set back from the road, with impressive views of the valley and mountains. The site remains visually stunning across seasonal changes. The summer’s dark green color is replaced with the winter whiteness from October through April. The monument is interesting in its forms: the repeating arches create harmony with the mountain sloped behind, while the colorful mosaic by well-known painter-designer NodarMalazonia is a bright contrast to the environment and attracts attention from the very first sight.
Nodar Malazonia is an important graphic artist in the Georgian design scene, from the Soviet period to the present. He was the main artist of the magazine “Niangi” since 1958; He also produced designs for the Georgian 200 GEL banknote, passport, Georgian ID card, voucher, coupon, driving license and one side of the Georgian Tetri coin.
The monument was built in 1983 under Soviet rule. It was dedicated to the Treaty of Georgievsk (a 1783 treaty which paved the way for Russian Imperial expansion into Georgia) and the “200th anniversary of Georgia-Russia friendship.” The structure remains one of the most interesting examples of Soviet modernism and still receives constant attention due to its forms, siting, and mosaic work. During the year it hosts numerous tourists and local visitors. Both print and online publications frequently feature impressive panoramas of both the mosaic and the landscape it overlooks.
“The Peace Monument is not only an interesting and beautiful structure but also a valuable one, on which distinguished Georgians worked. It is an important example of Soviet modernism and its significance has become even more clear when one of the most influential publications in the world – Frederic Chaubin wrote for the TASCHEN publication CCCP – Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed.
The site should be maintained by preserving the surrounding recreational zones and creating the most comfortable environment for tourists. Rehabilitation of this place is important both in terms of developing Georgia’s tourism potential and for the involvement of locals in the preservation of 20th century design. In addition to its role asa regional information center, the proposed complex will contribute to the site’s cultural significance where visitors will be able to learn about the history and culture of the region, relax in a pleasant atmosphere, enjoy spectacular views, and plan their travels.
In general, the development of infrastructure should be planned with a pre-determined geographical plan, without any political suit based on its content”– NanukaZaalishvili (Idaaf architects).
The monument consists of 1217 tiles. At present a number of tiles are lost, which will be replaced in kind during the restoration process.
“Keeping and preserving any of these types of memorials does not necessarily mean glorifying the period, but we can view it as a symbol of undesirable political alliance. Do not associate this monument with the glory of the Soviet Union, because it is dedicated to the Treaty of Georgievsk which belongs to the history of a deeper past. From the artistic point of view, apart from the identity of the authors, it independently is also a rather valuable work. Generally, I believe that, we should not be deciding the fate of such colossal and valuable monuments single-handedly, based only on emotions. Such issues require a little deeper understanding and gentle attitude. “- NiniPalavandishvili (Soviet Mosaic researcher, GeoAir.ge)
On the rehabilitation project Idaaf Architects and Saxon Management Services Planning of the area began with the development of a general plan project. The road leading to the monument will be made more comfortable,adapted for disabled people, and connected to parking. The parking lot is designed for 25 cars, including hybrids, 3 buses and bicycles. All the details in the project are adapted for people with disabilities. In addition,a building and a modernized recreational zone were located on the general plan.
The new building, a long rectangle with clean lines,is intended to harmonize with the existing environment and afford scenic views without detracting from the Peace Monument. The one-story height does not exceed 4m, and the building is located at a lower elevation, allowing the original monument to dominate the landscape. Glass facades reflect the environment and the building seems to be camouflaged.
“On the roof there are green plants. Although the area is in the alpine zone and the plants are less useful here, we considered it as an interesting experiment to replant bushes from the adjoining gorges on the roof of the building and create some sort of unexpected effect on the visitors. “- Idaaf Architects.
The building has a café with a kitchen, a souvenir shop / info center, a public toilet, additional facilities and a conference / exhibition hall, where it will be possible to plan events and exhibitions at any time of the year. This is important in orderto exhibit interesting materials connected to localhistory, events, authors, etc.
It should be noted that only natural materials will be used in the building. Natural wood brings warmth in the interior, and high stained glasses enable panoramic views.
More about Idaaf Architects: www.idaafarchitects.com
More about Saxon Management Services: www.saxon.ge
English Edit: Nutsa Namoradze; Angela Wheeler