The international architectural competition for the design of a new center (museum) of modern art in Tbilisi has ended. According to the results of the three stages, the international jury identified the winning company, which will develop the construction project of the modern art center (museum) in Tbilisi by the end of 2023.
According to the decision of the jury, the company “Wilmotte” will design the opening of a new cultural space in Tbilisi.
The author and investor of the project idea is patron, collector and businessman from Batumi Shalva Breus. He will build an ultra-modern complex on the named territory (2 hectares), where Shalva Breus’ personal rich collection of modern paintings will be used for exposition.
“We will create a unique space in Tbilisi for the presentation of modern works of art, for educational and scientific activities, for the exchange of cultural heritage, for cooperation with such leading centers of the world as Pompidou Center, Tate, Guggenheim Foundation, etc. At the same time, our goal is to create the warmest and most comfortable environment where a person can spend the whole day, visit an exhibition, arthouse films, interesting books in a store, take children to an educational center, visit a cafe with friends, take a walk in the park near the museum,” – said Shalva Breus.
The founder of the winning company – Jean-Michel Wilmotte notes that it is a great honor for him to work on this project.
“It was a pleasure to work on this project, it is an honorable mission, since I have worked in many countries in the field of restoring, renovating and assigning other functions to historical monuments. I think it is a historical place, a hospital, which acquires a new function and which is dedicated to the promotion of art. Also, there will be educational spaces of various purposes”, says Jean-Michel Wilmotte.
14 leading architectural bureaus in the world participated in the international competition announced in the spring of 2022.
In the first round, such well-known architectural firms as ARCHEA ASSOCIATI (Italy-Florence), CHRIST&GANTENBEIN (Switzerland), EMRE AROLAT ARCHITECTURE (Turkey), HERZOG AND DE MEURON (Switzerland), SHIGERU BAN ARCHITECTS (Japan), WILMOTTE&ASSOCIES (France) were selected. Two out of six architects are laureates of the prestigious Pritzker Prize worldwide.
Two companies made it to the finals – HERZOG AND DE MEURON and Wilmotte & Associés Architectes.
In the third round, the French Wilmotte & Associés Architectes won, which is a company with huge experience in large-scale projects – museum construction and restoration of cultural monuments. For the creators of the modern art museum, it is very important to take a careful approach to the reconstruction of the former hospital and preserve the appearance of its constituent buildings.
Among the projects implemented by Wilmotte & Associés Architectes, the reconstruction, renovation and design of the Louvre (1987-2008) stand out; as well as Renovation of the Museum of Impressionism in Paris MUSEE D,ORSE (2008); Design of Qatar Museum of Islamic Art (2008); Reconstruction and design RIJKSMUSEUM Amsterdam, which is included in the top ten most requested museums and many others.
Tbilisi Vice-Mayor Andria Basilaia assesses the construction of the Museum of Modern Art as a “direct investment in culture” and thinks that the new space will have a great impact from a tourist point of view.
“It is a very important place, a historical area, and the building itself has a great historical memory. It is good that the winning company worked on such a project as the restoration of the Louvre Museum. It is important that a modern art space will be created, where there will be educational components and cultural heritage monuments will be preserved. This is also important from the point of view of tourism, because it will add a new color to the capital. This is a direct investment in culture,” says Basilaia.
It should be noted that in the process of these competitions, foreign architectural bureaus were actively partnered with Georgian architectural companies. Moreover, Georgian architects will also be involved in the creation of the architectural project of the winning French company.
Construction will start in 2024. More than 30 million US dollars will be invested directly in the project for five years, excluding the collection.
Academician Valeri Asatiani calls this project a new vision and believes that it is the harmony of time and generations:
“Without any exaggeration, it is a unique project that has a multicultural and multifunctional load. Important architectural samples are built and preserved on the principle of historicism. A new space, a new vision, a new aesthetic is emerging. This is an open project, where there is a harmony of tradition and modernity, there is a harmony of the fusion of time, the fusion of generations”, says the academician.
With the opening of the modern art center (museum), which will be located in the historical district of the city, on the territory of the former “Mikhailov Hospital”, Tbilisi will become an important location on the world cultural map and will attract even more art connoisseurs and lovers to the country. Also, it will be an interesting center for tourists and society interested in modern art.
Wilmotte & Associés Architectes agency was founded in 1975 by Jean-Michel Wilmotte, architect, designer, member of the French Academy of Arts.
The agency unites 270 architects and implements about 100 projects in about 30 countries.
The most successful projects are: Louvre (1987-2008), Amsterdam State Museum (2013), ALLIANZ RIVIERA stadium in Nice (2013), GOOGLE headquarters apartment in London (2015), Lutecia Hotel, Paris (2018), Scienses po, Paris (2022), The world’s largest startup campus station f, Paris (2017), Ferrari sports management headquarters, Italy (2015-2018), arcelor mittal headquarters, Luxembourg (in progress), United Nations office building in Senegal (2023) .
Since 2010, the agency has been in the list of the 100 best architectural companies in the world.
More information about the company can be found at the link: wilmotte.com
International jury of the architectural competition:
Shalva Breus – the author of the idea of founding a new center (museum) of contemporary art in Tbilisi, investor, collector, businessman, founder of the Breus Foundation and the Kandinsky Prize.
Andria Basilaia – Vice Mayor of Tbilisi, Head of Urban Planning Service of Tbilisi Municipality.
Paul Alezraa – Avesta Group – founder and director, leading international qualification consultant in the direction of planning and realization of projects in the field of culture. Participated in the implementation of such projects as: Louvre, Abu Dhabi, Louvre-Lane, collaborated with Pompidou Center, planning Marina-Bay (Singapore), Venice Contemporary Art Center Punta Della Dogana and many others.
Valeri Asatiani – Academician of the National Academy of Sciences of Georgia, Doctor of Philology, Professor of TSU, President of the International Association “Dialogue of Cultures XXI”, Minister of Culture of Georgia in 1986-1990 and 1995-2000; Chairman of the Shota Rustaveli National Prize Awarding Commission.
Vasil Tsereteli – executive director of Zurab Tsereteli Museum of Contemporary Art.