arcspace article about TAB

“Tbilisi Architecture Biennial – Room for the Unexpected”

Tbilisi, the sprawling capital city of Georgia in the Caucasus, has been shaped by a dramatically turbulent history. Conflicting ideologies and over-enthusiastic egos have made their mark on the city’s fabric, ensuring a vibrant, if chaotic, form of urbanism. Much of the city is characterized by the grand experiments of the former Soviet Union, with vast microrayons providing housing on the city’s peripheries and concrete monoliths built to demonstrate the cultural superiority of the USSR. This is joined by the architectural adventures of the former president Mikheil Saakashvili, who commissioned a collection of superfluous icons to proclaim Georgia’s adoption of representative democracy, and with it a preference for ‘western’ ideals. But it is the space in-between that really reveals Tbilisi’s unique urban character as it has been colonized with an extraordinary number of self-built structures – garages, extensions, kiosks and ‘kamikaze loggias’ that render each home unique and every street particular.

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