Giorgi Khmaladze designed this futuristic glass-clad fuel station and McDonalds in a new urban center in Betumi, Georgia. The site occupies a central part of the city, so the design team sought to limit its footprint without ruining the dining experience. To this end, the two programs are visually separated, while vegetation planted on the cantilevered canopy acts as an "ecological shield" that protects diners from the fuel station. The design was also just named as the best commercial building of the year by our friends over at ArchDaily.
The monolithic three story fast food joint and fuel station seem oddly out of place in what appears to be a rather run down area of the city, even if it is emerging as a new urban center. Stranger still is the over-exuberant effort to turn McDonalds into a special culinary experience that deserves protection from the nearby fuel station. But perhaps we are unfairly looking at the project with biased eyes that are perfectly comfortable to lump junk food and dirty fuel in one humdrum space.
Nonetheless, the architecture itself is compelling, with decks jutting out from intermediate spaces between the three levels, which includes an open air terrace that overlooks the neighborhood. Water features and the vegetated spaces (we wish they could be heads of lettuce!) give the space a calming, natural aspect while also offsetting some of the fuel station’s environmental impact. One thing is for sure, if you didn’t know about a place called Betumi, Georgia, you do now!