Architectural Terrorism
20 June, 2013
Architectural Terrorism
They say that Georgia’s capital city Tbilisi is an elegant conurbation. Would it not be fairer to say as much as it only having a chance to be elegant? Ancient town with beautiful landscape, fairy-tale-kind-of looks by night, river flowing right through it, hills around, and all that sort of thing... but behold - what weird eclecticism in style! Tbilisi is nothing terribly outstanding, speaking architecturally – a couple of attractive avenues aligned with more or less eye-catching and curious
buildings with a history of no more than a couple of hundred years, several older shrines of various denominations and mostly, the soviet-type residential buildings, strewn around in the ugliest possible way all over the place.
To all that horrible architectural jambalaya are now added several newly built glass-and-steel structures – deplorable paradigms of real architectural terrorism, applied to the older part of the city. Those new and costly buildings look like white crows, sticking out as if they were sore thumbs right in the heart of our exotic Old Town, where smaller and cuter houses would look fitter and snugger than those glossy giants. The scariest sample of modern architectural terrorism in town is the twin metallic pipes with immense diameter, lying together like overfed and overblown worms on the Riqqeh off of the Baratashvili Bridge on the left bank of the Kura River. I understand and appreciate modern architecture, but I may also ask very humbly if modern architectural design also means or not choosing the right place for erecting the structure somebody needs to put out somewhere. Why is Riqqeh the best place for sticking so many stones in, so much concrete blotched around and those unlikely architectural pieces, squeezed in even if they are meant for happy public entertainment? The best public entertainment for us the humans in an awfully polluted city like Tbilisi, where the summer temperature goes beyond 40 degrees by centigrade, is not stones and concrete, but parks, trees, grass and flowers. Or take the freshly built and pompously inaugurated House of Justice with that mushroom-shape multitude of funny white domes, built in the place of beautiful tennis courts! Why a building of that particular kind of functionality has to be there right in the middle of downtown? Thousands are visiting the place on everyday basis who need to park their exhaust-rich vehicles somewhere in the vicinity because the adjacent parking lot does not have enough space or is usually out of order. Forget about permanent traffic jams which create genuine hell on one of the main thoroughfares of the city, passing by the building. Why could it not have been erected somewhere else where both the parking space and lighter traffic would have been available? If observed in general, the entire city architecture of Tbilisi of the last quarter of a century (I am not even mentioning the poorly constructed ubiquitous faceless soviet residential projects) looks like a deliberate deterioration of our life style, triggered by the will of the people whose accidental grab of power of decision-making kills the quality of life in this unique little place, called Tiflis -Tbilisi. Is it possible to imagine for even a split second that somebody would be allowed to disfigure the center of London, Paris, Rome, Vienna, Berlin or Madrid? Who would permit construction of residential or office buildings in parks and squares of those cities? The insane arbitrary decisions, killing the appealing architectural image of a city is probably possible only here in Georgia. The question is why. The question is who allows. The question is why we hate our beloved cute little Tbilisi so much.
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