J. Mayer H . forges a link to a forggotten village

Surrounded by the majestic peaks of the Caucasus Mountains, this small airport terminal in Mestia clearly demonstrates its function. The concrete-and-glass volume next to the runway resembles an abstract aircraft that has made an emergency landing, an object that seems to rest on the ground without being attached to it. The airport is for the exclusive use of small planes that accommodate no more than 50 passengers. Designed by Berlin-based J. Mayer H. Architects, the project is a part of the Georgian government’s effort to open up one of the country’s more inaccessible yet uniquely beautiful
regions to tourists. The 250-m2 facility may be a miniaturized version of major airports the world over, but it has the same familiar spatial vocabulary: tower, departure lounge, café, waiting area and security checkpoint. As if defying the laws of gravity, each of the three wings of the building’s Y-shaped footprint tips up at the end, whereas the tower – true to its typology – shoots up vertically, evoking the medieval towers of Mestia, protected treasures of Georgian history and, as such, represented on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. ‘Mestia’s towers were places of escape, where people fled from their enemies to defend themselves,’ says architect Jürgen Mayer. ‘The whole historical village was built around the idea of vertical elements.’

Text: Sandra Hofmeister

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