To see their dream become a reality, Meama assigned their idea to the capable hands of Giorgi Khmaladze, a young upcoming architect from Georgia. Constructed between 2016 and 2019, the Meama Coffee Factory has become an architectural marvel, housing manufacturing facilities, offices and a large coffee tasting showroom. The building, spread over a terrain of 30,000 square meters, is lodged by the highway between Tbilisi and its international airport. Concertina-style folded walls appear to wholly encapsulate the building, bouncing off light and casting curious shadows over the construction throughout the day. The angular exterior in exposed concrete lends no clues as to what the interior looks like, and unknowing visitors would likely be surprised to find that the interior of the building is flooded with natural light, created by several planted lightwells and numerous skylights located in the building. The back of the building is a striking contrast to the front, offering a grandiose view of the pine forest and fields nearby.
The Meama Coffee Factory’s defining feature is undoubtedly its distinctive green roof, which spans over an area of 3,680 square meters. Fully covered by wild grasses and accessible to the factory staff, the green roof blends well into the surrounding landscape, acting as an additional thermal barrier to the roof insulation. As an additional perk, the vegetation shields the Meama office from noise pollution stemming from the nearby airport. The height of the undulating roof adapts to the encapsulated spaces’ requirements, heightening where machinery and equipment are located and lowering wherever possible. Near its edges, the green roof follows the slopes of the surrounding environment.
Giorgi Khmaladze Architects, an architectural firm known for its intense focus on sustainability and boundary-pushing design, seamlessly incorporated both the city’s requirement for a factory blending into the landscape and the client’s need for a distinctive visual identity. Khmaladze primarily chose the materials on the factors of aesthetics and durability: he wanted to give the building a singular sense of geometry that would also accommodate the surrounding nature. To combine both aesthetics and durability, the architect chose cast-in-place concrete for the majority of the building, utilising one way waffle slab to create vast, unobstructed spaces within the structure. For an easy and swift installation process of the undulating green roof, Khmaladze opted for EPDM roofing membranes.