15 Nov 2019

Known for it’s abundance of historic buildings, the capital city of Georgia, Tbilisi, encompasses a diverse range of architecture dating as far back as the 5th century. In 2017, The National Trust of Georgia contacted Architect, Donald Hankey, a familiar associate of ByrneLooby and former UK President of The International Council on Monuments and Sites, to help devise a plan on how best to conserve a 19th century historic building located in the capital. Needing some specialist conservation advice, Donald Hankey got in touch with Kevin Hallaway, a Consultant at ByrneLooby who specialises in conservation. Together they visited the site in Tbilisi to investigate the building, its structural integrity and potential issues.

Due to the lack of adequate funding, the proposed building had not been well maintained for an extended period of time and it, along with surrounding buildings, had been suffering from extensive ground movement. The plan was to devise a quick scheme that would allow the building to be strengthened and repaired so that it has a more viable structure, improving it’s usability and safety whilst retaining it’s original historic character. The main aim is for it to become a mixed-use building with office space for the National Trust of Georgia, along with commercial use of the basement and garden level, with full use of the accommodation space on the upper level for NTG visitors, all whilst preserving the beautiful Mulberry tree located in the Garden area.

With the building located in an Earthquake Zone, Tiziana Meciani, a Technical Director of Conservation at ByrneLooby, was enlisted to assist in devising a scheme. Tiziana whose heritage stems from Italy, where earthquakes are prominent and buildings are designed and structured to cope with the effects of Earthquakes, was able to help advise on how to best conserve the building and to prevent future earthquake damage.

The initial plan for works has been submitted and the intention is that this project will be used as an example by the National Trust of Georgia for conserving other heritage building’s throughout Georgia.

If you want to read more about the preservation of historic building’s in Tbilisi, SAVE Europe’s Heritage launched a new publication in October – “Tbilisi: Preserving a Historic City” which you can buy directly from the SAVE website: (https://www.savebritainsheritage.org/publications/save-europe-publications).

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