Hotel on Shaori Lake

Location: Shaori Lake, Racha, Georgia

Year: 2022

Status: Competition - 2nd place

Racha is one of the most special regions of Georgia, with rich ehtnic culture and unique architectural identity. Despite that, it’s hard to miss that the region is unable to exploit the potential of these riches. The most obvious of these problems is the lack of development in the hospitality field - there is no hotel or multifunctional space in the region which is able to serve not just for stopping by, but as an object of attraction itself.

From an architectural perspective Racha stands out only thanks to its historical heritage. Apart from ancient churches and houses, there are some examples of Soviet era buildings which are mostly abandoned and in need of repair. Considering this picture, we think that the main goal and ambition of this project is to improve the local hospitality field and form an architectural landmark.

The dominant material in traditional Rachian architecture is wood. It’s known that Racha was rich with woodworkers and advanced carpentry. Some of the knowledge is still surviving, but is on the verge of extinction. For our architectural workshop it is paramount to fit our buildings not only in the physical context but the social and cultural ones. Therefore, we deem it very important to echo the local building techniques and traditions, using local materials and, in the best case, using local craftsmen in the construction. 

In addition to the dialogue with the context, using wood and other local materials is important for the sustainability of the project. This approach is not only an architectural ideology but can also be key for the success of the hotel, as today’s travel trends show that the story that a building tells, how much of the local spirit it presents, or how sustainable it is, is more important than ever. And these aspects will prove to be even more relevant in the post pandemic world.

The program of the building works as an ensemble of three main functions - the hotel block, the event hall and the pier. The hotel block is arranged in a rational grid with a system of wooden balconies attached to it almost like scaffolding, forming the main character of the building and referencing local morphology. The event hall sits separately on a neighbouring cliff, linked to the main block with a timber bridge and thanks to its rhythmical wooden facade and the scaffolding-like appearance of the bridge, is a continuation of the same architectural language. The pier consists of an outdoor pool, restaurant and sauna, creating a direct connection between the hotel and the lake. One of the main magnets of the building is the spa, which is almost dark and cave-like, with openings framing and focusing on the breathtaking view of the lake.