News - 8 December 2015

Tbilisi Platform Dialogue - Knowledge Exchange from Dutch and Georgian Perspectives

On December 8th, UNStudio and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Tbilisi State Academy of the Arts, and Studio L held an all-day seminar in Tbilisi, Georgia. Dutch and Georgian professionals, architects, students, designers and politicians reflected on a key question of the day, ‘What will Tbilisi be like in ten years’ time?’ Topics including historic preservation, disappearing public space, mobility and the city were discussed with the aim to exchange experiences from both Dutch and Georgian perspectives. Moderated by architectural curator Chris Luth, the seminar featured speeches by Caroline Bos (Co-Founder UNStudio), Mark Vernooij (General Manager THNK, The School of Creative Leadership), Lena Kiladze (Founder Studio L, Professor Tbilisi State Academy of Arts), Jeroen ter Haar (ABT Engineering), and Gogi Sulaberidze (Former Chief Architect Tbilisi, Tbilisi City Council, Founder, Art Studio).

The National Georgian newspaper Georgia Today published an article on the event: ‘UNStudio Helping Georgian Architects and Designers Dream for the Future’. The journalist Robert Isaf concluded that “Old Tbilisi courtyards might not be sprouting Portmanesque sky gardens ten years from now, and the ambitious riverside plans showcased or peripheral neighborhood designs – which really are being professionally discussed – might not have the transformative effect we hope. But thinking about Tbilisi as the city we want it to be is a good way to start off getting there”.

The interactive seminar comprised discussion of approaches from both Dutch and Georgian practices, including lessons learned and possible architectural and urban solutions for future inspiration. The day started with an introduction by Chris Luth, followed by a lecture by Lena Kiladze on ‘Preservation versus Transformation of the Historical City’ and a presentation by Caroline Bos ‘Mobility+: Spaces of Flow’. Mark Vernooij then kicked off a reframing workshop, followed by lectures by Gogi Sulaberidze and Jeroen ter Haar. The seminar was concluded by another workshop session with Mark Vernooij and a plenary closing discussion between moderator Chris Luth and all workshop participants.