The Vani Archaeological Museum-Reserve was initially founded in 1981, as a historic museum, and was opened to the public in 1985.
The Museum complex is situated on a hill close to the town of Vani in western Georgia, on the left bank of the River Rioni. It houses the majority of the archaeological findings discovered on the site of Vani. Some of the exhibits are of highest national and cultural value. The exhibition covers the period between 800 BC and 100 AD. The permanent exhibition presents architectural materials and goldwork, as well as unique bronze figures and their fragments. The museum was named after the famous archaeological scientist, Otar Lordkipanidze.
A contemporary conservational treatment and presentation of the exhibits required a conversion and extension of the existing building. Our client is the Municipal Development Fund (MDF) of the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia. The project was funded by the World Bank.
The objective was to make the exhibitions more experienceable to the visitors and to link the museum to the valuable archaeological surroundings. The concept designed improves the entrance area, the visitor circulation and the relation to the surrounding area. The extension offers additional space for extra exhibition areas, a cafeteria and an auditorium. A three-storey high new building extends the existing museum. The angled volume was placed at south-east end of the existing building. A glazed gap connects the two massive elements.
The material concept is based on the idea that the facades of existing and new building parts should look different but familiar at the same time. The cladding for both parts is designed to be out of glassfibre reinforced concrete sheets with monolithic look. The new extension in white with smooth surface finish. The existing building in light mocca brown with the three surface finishes sandblasted, brushed and smooth. The front façade of the existing museum is covered in swiveled anodized aluminum ribbons of bronze colour in front of an inner glass façade. The bronze shimmer refers to the exhibits inside the museum.
Vani Archaeological Museum was awarded the Silletto Prize for Community Participation and Engagement at the European Museum of the Year Awards 2023.