The new Public Service Hall in Tbilisi, Georgia, which opened in Autumn 2012, appears to have a split personality. Designed by Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas, the 28,000 m2 complex consists of seven very rectilinear glass volumes that house the offices of the National Bank of Georgia, the Minister of Energy, and the Civil and National Registry, grouped around a large atrium that serves as open public space.
Covering, hovering over, the entire building are cluster of 11 sheltering white “petals,” free-standing roofs in rounded organic shapes, supported by tall white steel stems. They have been likened to trees, or giant mushrooms. They also might recall a certain high-end brand of potato chip.
The petals are made of glass fiber and epodossic resin on a steel frame. Their opaque whiteness and soft contours seem like the exact opposite of the structures over which they billow.
But what an eloquent architectural statement. The government offices are very business-like, squared and subdivided and regular, and unusually transparent. That is how the government is envisioned to function. But the greater purpose of government is expressed in the petals: a protective, sheltering umbrella that makes an open space into a community, an organic growth, a development of nature – human nature – to join together for the common good.
Images copyright Studio Fuksas, via archdaily.com: “Tbilisi Public Service Hall / Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas” 16 Oct 2012. ArchDaily.