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Laguna Vere jump tower

The aquatic complex Laguna Vere in Tbilisi is located on the right bank of the Mtkvari River in Sative District on the territory of the former physical culture park. Aquatic 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 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 regional 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.

The Structure

Due to the density of the area, the complex is determined in one volume. The landscape of the terrain is skilfully used for the functional separation of the spectator and sport events zones. The curved arrangement of the spectator tribune is well written in the rocky landscape. In terms of architectural-planning the building is strictly functional. The press building with commentator's booths, tribunes for press staff and sportsmen is located on the side of the central facade facing north. Box-office and two central entrances are also located on the same side, these entrances are connected to the 5500 spectator tribunes with ramps on the south side. Between the press building and tribunes three swimming pools are arranged: the large swimming pool 50x25m, smaller one 25x20m for jumping and learning pool 25x10m. On the top of the jump pool there is a 5, 7 and 10 meter jump tower with 1 and 3 meter trampolines. Underneath the spectators 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 Aquatic Sports Federation office, medical and rehabilitation rooms and sauna; The third floor is occupied by gym and athletics halls.

Architectural Decoration

The complex is outstanding in terms of architectural decoration. The main facade is covered with local yellowish Bolnisi tuff, the wall is decorated with a mosaic panel by Koka Ignatov. This mosaic panel and interior paintings by Koka Ignatov are particularly noteworthy. They are almost in original state and in a very good condition. The mosaic panel is done with smalti 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 casted in exposed concrete characteristic for Brutalist architecture. It gives a distinctive expression of the structure.

Future of Laguna Verde

Until the very last days of its function Laguna Vere had a very important recreational function for Tbilisi residents. It was the only open air swimming complex in the city centre that was available for socially middle and low class residents. Till today there is no alternative to Laguna Vere in the city, therefore it is necessary to restore building's original function. Since 2000 Laguna Vere is in private ownership. It was closed in the beginning of 2014 with arguments that it was old time, defective and non-profit, though nothing was done to renew, renovate or reconstruct it. On June 13, 2015 the complex suffered as a result of the flood in Tbilisi. It was completely covered with garbage and silt, not completely cleaned yet. Despite numerous promises Laguna Vere has not been rehabilitated and neither is it re-opened.

In 2015 group of professionals approached the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation of Georgia with a request to grant Laguna Vere Cultural Heritage Immovable Monument status. There is no written answer to this request until today. In the same 2015, in the framework of the competition announced by Tbilisi Development Fund, the winning organization GIS and RS Consulting Centre "GeoGraphic" worked out the concept for the urban development of Tbilisi's historical sector. According to this document, Laguna Vere is included in the list of the objects presented for receiving a monument status. Tbilisi Development Fund passed the concept and lists to the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation of Georgia. After two years the decision has not been made yet.

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ziggurat, October 2nd, 2017
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