Nikozi is an ancient Georgian village located near the border of the Russian-occupied South Ossetia, where the Russo-Georgian war took place in August 2008. The echo of the war is still present here and affects the spirit of the place.
The residential houses in this settlement are planned around several historical monuments, which are some of the earliest examples of Christian churches, such as the Zemo Nikozi church of the Deity and the Zemo Nikozi church of the Archangel.
The idea of the Nikozi Art Palace proposal is to bring and unite a village under one large roof. The circular arrangement of functions creates an enclosed courtyard, which is a symbol of unity, integrity, and peace. An assembly of functions, which consists of a museum, gallery, and a concert hall, creates a perimeter block and an inner yard with an amphitheatre for outdoor events, screenings, and social gatherings.
A single-storey layout and its linear volume do not obscure the views of historical architecture and the Caucasus mountains. Moreover, the fragmented rhythm of the Nikozi Art Palace layout is downscaled into local, rural dwellings.
The building has two guiding axes – the roof is oriented towards the main highway and the school, while the inner courtyard is aligned with the axis of the Church. The difference of the axes creates covered spaces and entrances on the perimeter of the building.
The architectural form of the project is inspired by the roofs of traditional houses in Nikozi. The canopy-type roof is made of terracotta, which is an analogue to the traditional clay-pitched roofs in Nikozi. Its timber gridshell structure is exposed into interior spaces in the form of a ceiling.