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You might not be lovin’ it, but there’s no way you’re not going to have an opinion about it.

On the heels of the largest KFC in the world in the Azerbaijani capital, Baku, comes a spectacular new McDonald’s restaurant in Georgia’s Black Sea port city of Batumi, designed by Harvard-educated architect Giorgi Khmaladze.

But you’d be hard-pressed to identify this cantilevered-glass spaceship of a building as a restaurant, much less a mundane McDonald’s.

Architect Giorgi Khmaladze

Architect Giorgi Khmaladze

The exterior is covered by 460 glass panels, while the entire building is surrounded by a reflecting pool whose flowing lines mimic the jazzy shapes from 1950s wallpaper. The interior features dining areas that look out onto the reflecting pool and an open-air patio featuring a surprisingly large expanse of vegetation.

As if all that isn’t impressive enough, the underside of the giant looming cantilever protects a busy gas station, whose operations are totally invisible to restaurant customers. According to Khmaladze:

Part of the dining space offers views towards outside water features, while the rest of it seamlessly transitions into open air patio on the upper level. The patio, enclosed from all sides to protect the space from outside noise, provides calm open air seating. The vegetation layer, which covers the cantilevered giant canopy of the fuel station, adds natural environment and acts as a "ecological shield" for the terrace.

Khmaladze, who’s won a string of international awards for his designs, tells RFE/RL that the most challenging aspect of the 1,200-square-meter project was preserving the "wow" factor while accommodating the strict requirements of the McDonald’s Corporation:

...meaning that all its operations are dependent on the correct planning of all required spaces, which McDonald's has optimized in its standard projects. But in our case, we had to incorporate their standards in such a way that it would not impact out design in a negative way. And secondly, we set ourself a goal to disconnect -- at least visually -- the dining from the gas station, but to do it in an architecturally interesting way.

It’s an undeniably spectacular structure. The website HLNtv.com even compares it to the lair of a Superman villain and notes:

...if you really can't get any further in your day without a McFlurry, this is definitely the spot to order it. We're also secretly hoping that their Happy Meals come packed in sealed black boxes.

-- Grant Podelco

About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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