Nikozi Art Palace competition unveils winner for venue project

  • A rendering of the First Prize-winning submission for the Nikozi Art Palace project. Image via, 25 Mar 2021 - 18:32, Tbilisi,Georgia

Cultural events and festivals in one of Georgia's oldest villages will soon have a brand-new space, with the unveiling of the winning project for Nikozi Art Palace this month.

Running since the open call for submissions was made in December, the competition reached its closing stages as the seven-member jury selected the project by IAMAC, a group of four architects, as the First Prize winner.

The plan, designed by Aleksandre Zviadauri, Sukha Zviadauri, Giorgi Chikovani and Lado Afanasiev, earned not only the first place among submissions but also a money prize after providing the four creatives' vision for the multi-functional space.

The venue is set to be built in the town hall area of Upper Nikozi, a village located near the administrative line separating the Russian-occupied province of Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) from the government-controlled territory in central Georgia.

The winning team emphasised their decision on arranging the "full plan on a single level". Image via

Submissions for the open contest were supposed to provide space for a 300-capacity hall, rehearsal studio, space for educational and conference events, museum, backstage and amenities for festivals, concerts and other activities in the locality.

It is designed to house a small but lively local creative scene, dedicated to animated cinema and general arts education over the past decade. Architects of the winning team also said they had aimed to create a space that would become a "part of the daily life of locals".

Originally established in the 5th century CE as one of the oldest dioceses in Georgia, the Nikozi village is now administered through Upper and Lower sections and was home to a small animation film studio destroyed in the 2008 Russian-Georgian war.

Restored following the war, the resumption of the studio's work was accompanied by the launch of the Nikozi School of Art - selected as Georgia's joint nominee for the next edition of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in Stockholm.

The third element of the reinvigoration of the creative scene in the small village has been the 2011-established Nikozi Animation Film Festival, which hosts local and foreign visitors annually. In 2017 it received the Europe for Festivals - Festivals for Europe (EFFE) Label from the European Festivals Association.