In an article published 15 November, author Oliver Wainwright discusses whether the Tbilisi Architecture Biennial can inspire a useful debate about the city’s future.
Referring to the concert hall and exhibition center and other trophy buildings of form president Mikheil Saakashvili as “a tragic parody of vanity projects gone wrong”, Wainwright says that the unfortunate buildings have appeared in the city since the collapse of the Soviet Union and an influx of investment in the early 2000s.
However, little consideration or thought was made to the design and purpose of the buildings, many of which serve as abandoned eyesores the city’s skyline. These unsuccessful developments and the lack of discussion surrounding architecture and urban development inspired the Tbilisi Architecture Biennial, which hopes to encourage public discourse about the future of the city.
“For nine we had a president who was very interested in architecture, it was a disaster,” said local architect and planner Irakli Zhvania.” The Biennal shows a shift in attitudes towards architecture, and things are beginning to change.