Community Centre in Avlabari, Tbilisi
Community centre is located in Avlabari –important district of old Tbilisi-on Chekhov street.
Buildings on Chekhov street –mainly 2-storeyed houses - are built in various periods .There are situated several so called ’Tbilisi houses’ of XIX century- a strange mixture of Russian classicism and local handicraft traditions - with typical courts and balconies. Alongside with them there are some samples of mediocrity of the nearest past - for example, 4-storeyed apartment building with windowless immense wall facing Chekhov street. Great deal of houses are degraded and amenable to renovation.
It was important for us to rethink some important features of Old Tbilisi urban fabric, for example, distribution of volumes and `voids`, which defines spatial characteristics of a street in general. Interruptions between facade surfaces create entrances of courts. `Voids`-courts are separated from a street by a one-storey-height wall. In front of courts a street space unexpectedly widens , ‘leaks’ from a street to a ‘void’–court. Due to this one never feels narrowness of old Tbilisi streets. Street space seems quite ‘natural’ and ’enough’.
Street ‘flow’ is characterized by dynamic change of volumes and voids, complex, ‘syncopyc ‘ spatial rhythm. It’s important to note, that street facade of ‘Tbilisi house’ is almost ‘independent’ from inner space - it develops by its own rules, and radically differs from back facade, where inner space is opened to a court through ornamented wooden - often beautifully crafted - gallery-balcony. This balcony is a transitional space between private and public {court} spaces.

Community centre will play an important role in a community’s social live-it contains conference, meeting and exhibition spaces, library, cafe , club premises, administration office.
Centre plan configuration is defined by structural characteristics of given urban block planning. It repeats the configuration of buildings existed on the site in the past. This answers requirements of the Department of Preserved Territories of Ministry of Culture. and ‘Georgian Law on Preservation of Cultural Heritage’s. Height of the Center building is defined by the same requirements.
Centre’s spatial syntax is stipulated by above mentioned principle of distribution of volumes and `voids`, relative ‘independence’ of facade from inner spatial organization and as well as modernist principles of articulation .
In the same time it was interesting to experience in a widening field of modernist vocabulary and seek for new relations between this vocabulary and vernacular.
Ornamented balconies and glazed loggias of ‘Tbilisi House’, or in a certain sense, some kind of ‘framed view’ of environment was a main source of inspiration. Easily recognizable , associated with an original source, ornamental pattern is loosely distributed on a facade {It’s not typical for modernist architecture, but for an architecture of the nearest past, as I remember} . It’s very important mean for delivering of necessary daylight and preserving from penetration of direct sunrays. Along with functionality It brings to an architectonic logic of the building certain quality of spontaneity, intonations of oriental, but monochrome{?} carpet, or even a textile design.
All this expresses our understanding of a ‘spirit of the place’, and witnesses in a certain sense, our keeping away from architectural context {in a conventional understanding}, and closing with common cultural context.