“Hybrid Tbilisi. Reflections on Architecture in Georgia” at DAM

To celebrate Georgia as guest of honour of the Frankfurt Book Fair 2018 the DAM wanders through the caucasian metropolis Tiflis – a large demolition site of the old, a factory of the new, a fascinating city in search of itself.

 

Sowjetische Großwohnsiedlung, 1976, Architekten Otar Kalandarishvili und G.Potskhishvili Foto: Erik-Jan Ouwerkerk

Sowjetische Großwohnsiedlung, 1976, Architekten Otar Kalandarishvili und G.Potskhishvili Foto: Erik-Jan Ouwerkerk

 

Together with renowned Georgians, the various levels of this contradictory city are explored at a particular stage of a transformation that oscillates geographically and intellectually between Europa, Russia, Turkey and the Arab states, between East and West, between the 19th century, the Soviet Union, and an optimistic 21st century. With its feverish urban construction activity and its wild night life, the city is attracting international attention.


 

Practical information

“Hybrid Tbilisi. Reflections on Architecture in Georgia” 
September 29, 2018 — January 13, 2019
Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM)
Schaumainkai 43, Frankfurt am Main
Germany

 


Almost forgotten, palaces, administrative buildings, churches, and museums built by European architects in the 19th century are falling into disrepair. Next to them stand Soviet-era structures attesting to Stalinist and Constructivist trends, and even hyper late-Soviet formal experiments, such as the Ministry of Highway Construction, a true icon of Soviet Brutalism. In the transition period thereafter, self-built, life- threatening “kamikaze loggias” proliferated on pre-fabricated buildings. Later on, with a new Messiah as president, entire streets were reconstructed, spectacular newbuilds signaling a bright new future. Today, in the era that followed, it is the private investors who rule, building on a grandiose scale. Tbilisi, the small Caucasian would-be European.

 

Reste der Narikala Burg in den Sololaki Bergen über Tiflis Foto: Erik-Jan Ouwerkerk

Reste der Narikala Burg in den Sololaki Bergen über Tiflis Foto: Erik-Jan Ouwerkerk

Das berühmte sowjetische Ministry of Highway Construction, 1975 von George Chakhava, heute Zentrale der Bank of Georgia Foto: Erik-Jan Ouwerkerk

Das berühmte sowjetische Ministry of Highway Construction, 1975 von George Chakhava, heute Zentrale der Bank of Georgia Foto: Erik-Jan Ouwerkerk

 

CITY WALK – COLLAGES ON THE KURA

In Tbilisi, you quickly find it nigh impossible to track down something that constitutes “typical Georgian architecture.” The appearance of the built environment in the city on the banks of the Kura River is too heterogeneous and contradictory for that. In addition to the medieval churches and the old town with its Oriental influences not to mention the Historicist quarters south of the Kura, one can find almost every significant architectural style of the last 150 years in its original condition in Tbilisi – making the city an inexhaustible trove for travelers with an interest in architecture.

 

"Kamikaze Loggias“ wurden die illegal angebauten Erweiterungen genannt Foto: Erik-Jan Ouwerkerk

“Kamikaze Loggias“ wurden die illegal angebauten Erweiterungen genannt Foto: Erik-Jan Ouwerkerk

 

Modern boutique hotels opposite decaying Art Nouveau buildings, improvised single-family homes behind new apartment towers, abandoned vast parking garages from the Soviet era – there are just a few of the endless possibilities to discover something new around every corner. Yet a glance at the details also reveals a cosmos of its own time and again. There are plenty of surprises in store behind historical front doors. The ubiquitous will to create something individual, which one can discern among the residents, is particularly impressive. No two buildings are alike, and there are no uniform appearances or colors – possibly an obvious reaction to the decades of Soviet socialist urban planning for the new man that still characterizes the city’s peripheral districts to this day.

 

Konzert- und Ausstellungshalle, 2011, Massimiliano und Doriana Fuksas Foto: Erik-Jan Ouwerkerk

Konzert- und Ausstellungshalle, 2011, Massimiliano und Doriana Fuksas Foto: Erik-Jan Ouwerkerk

Giorgi Khmaladze steht für die nächste Generation im Ausland studierter Architekten mit dem Dreier-Turmprojekt Alliance and Wyndham, dessen Bau bald beginnt Foto: Erik-Jan Ouwerkerk

Giorgi Khmaladze steht für die nächste Generation im Ausland studierter Architekten mit dem Dreier-Turmprojekt Alliance and Wyndham, dessen Bau bald beginnt Foto: Erik-Jan Ouwerkerk

Das neue Einwohnermeldeamt Public Service Hall, 20112, Fuksas Architects Foto: Erik-Jan Ouwerkerk

Das neue Einwohnermeldeamt Public Service Hall, 20112, Fuksas Architects Foto: Erik-Jan Ouwerkerk

Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel, 2008, Graft Architekten & The Biltmore Hotel, 2016, Architekt unbekannt. Das leerstehende Bauwerk dazwischen wird derzeit als Hotelerweiterung mit Casino umgebaut. Foto: Erik-Jan Ouwerkerk

Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel, 2008, Graft Architekten & The Biltmore Hotel, 2016, Architekt unbekannt. Das leerstehende Bauwerk dazwischen wird derzeit als Hotelerweiterung mit Casino umgebaut. Foto: Erik-Jan Ouwerkerk

 

Large/small, old/new, spacious/compact, rich/poor, tall/low, straight/slanted, modern/historical, steep/ flat, colorful/gray – these are not pairs of opposites, but adjectives that describe the buzzing, fascinating and eclectic impression that Tbilisi makes on its visitors. Hybrid Tbilisi, indeed.

 

"Hybrid Tbilisi" exhibition view © Foto: Moritz Bernoully

“Hybrid Tbilisi” exhibition view © Foto: Moritz Bernoully

"Hybrid Tbilisi" exhibition view © Foto: Moritz Bernoully

“Hybrid Tbilisi” exhibition view © Foto: Moritz Bernoully

"Hybrid Tbilisi" exhibition view © Foto: Moritz Bernoully

“Hybrid Tbilisi” exhibition view © Foto: Moritz Bernoully

"Hybrid Tbilisi" exhibition view © Foto: Moritz Bernoully

“Hybrid Tbilisi” exhibition view © Foto: Moritz Bernoully


 

News source and text: DAM
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