Tbilisi, Georgia

Founded along the historic Silk Route, Georgia's capital city still plays an important role as a trade and transit centre due to its strategic location at the crossroads between Europe and Asia. Fifteen years after the break-up of the Soviet Union the country is in the process of reinforcing its pro-western orientation, promoting a market economy and implementing economic reforms, restructuring the social sector and at the same time upgrading dismantled and dysfunctional social protection system. For Georgia while being in transition, the lack of adequate urban planning and housing policies involves great risks for the future of its cities, and at the same time it represents a challenge for new housing projects, which should serve as actual instruments for the qualification of the proper urban growth and development.


Didi Digomi

Didi Digomi is composed by two microrayons (typical soviet high rise housing development) placed in the outskirts of the city surrounded by hills and countryside.
The available land around the complex is being sold for detached houses private developments. In an attempt to preserve the strong landscape character of high buildings confronted to flat and uniform empty space, a regular low rise urbanization is proposed to fill up the space from the limits of the microrayons to the footsteps of the closest hills.
A maximum two storeys construction limit and 720 m2 minimum size plot should ensure a low rise development with a carpet character.
Important gaps in between new developments will keep connections from microrayons to nature and at the same time resolve problematic topographic points creating four individualized areas, each one adapting its net of roads to the particular pre existences.

site area 1'770'000 m²
housing units 2'460
inhabitants 9'800
density 49 inhabitants/ha

Ianek Shikhiashvili
GTU, Georgia

Didi Digomi 2

Didi Diromi is a partially unfinished typical soviet housing development formed by two microrayons (neighbourhoods) separated by a central space.
The original programme of developing housing in the central empty space was rejected. Instead a central park is proposed because of it strategic position and in prevision of extensive development of the hole area.
In the project, the housing development is settled in an unfinished corner of the eastern microrayon, reinforcing the special limits of the proposed park.
A sequence of new buildings are placed around a hill, emulating the scale of existing high rise blocks. Terraced elevations and a variation on the high of buildings in relation to its position according to foot steps of central hills provoke a diversity of typologies and a differentiated character against the normalized soviet blocks.

site area 136'000 m²
housing 50'800 m²
housing units 640
inhabitants 2'560
density 180 inhabitants/ha

Jose Alfredo Uresti Garza
AAM, Mexico

Lisi Lake

The site–a slope covered by autochthonous vegetation overlooking south and Vake district–is a part of a prestigious natural area recently sold to urban developments.
In the projects a fish-spine net of roads is laid adapted to topography and reducing earthworks. Development is based on the repetition of a modulated 50 x 50 metres micro neighbourhood composed by four strips of duplex apartments with patios on ground level and balconies on the upstairs. These modulated elements are shifted to fit in the punctual situation. A net of pedestrian paths cross throw the complex extending houses to nature and proposing spaces for social life.

site area 236'000 m²
housing 68'000 m²
housing units 408
inhabitants 1'600
density 70 inhabitants/ha

Levan Jamagidze
GTU, Georgia


The site is a 4ha empty space resulting from demolition of a former Red Army military base, recently planned for mixed use high density development, very attractive due to its central position and its views toward river and old city.
In the project, a rectangular semi-excavated basement follows topography to avoid the risk of monumentalization hosting the extensive part of the program: parking and shops.
Over the resulting platform ten buildings contain opens space typologies for apartments and working spaces. A series of courtyards bring natural light and connections to the shops on basement. A frontal empty space is reserved for a public panoramic square.
Buildings are prefabricated structured with cantilevering slabs in situ creating a perimetrical external covered space giving extra quality to living spaces.

site area 46'000 m²
housing 36'600 m²
commercial 52'000 m²
inhabitants 800
density 180 inhabitants/ha

Mamuka Makhoshvili
GTU, Georgia

Adlavari ex-Military Base

A neglected military provisions base composed by solid masonry warehouses situated in a dense popular neighbourhood represents an unique opportunity for creating a significant communal space.
All precinct walls and small additions are demolished. The existing 70 cm depth walls are completed and elevated to obtain a continuous horizontal reference level. Buildings on upper portion of site result on two storey high while on lower side the buildings reach seven storey.
In each warehouse different scales and typologies of courtyard are proposed in order to result on domestic scale spaces. Shops, studios and atelier are placed on ground level directly connected to public spaces. A variation of housing typologies are proposed in the upper levels. Some building are devoted to host social apartments in protected environment, taking advantage of social character of the complex.

site area 49'000 m²
housing 37'800 m²
commercial 13'320 m²
units 490
inhabitants 1'470
density 300 inhabitants/ha

Fabrizio Ballabio
AAM, Italy

Ortashala Waterfront

The project occupies the site of an existing spontaneous settlement programmed to be demolish because of the growing interest on the area due to panoramic views of Mkuari river and Tbilisi old city.
In the project the proposed bar buildings rising from the terrain till the level of the street evidence the difference of high between city and river. The position and directions on the plan of the buildings are geometrical related to the direction of main Black Sea street connecting to airport.
Two different kind of external spaces offer different views to passing-throw apartments. Parking and access are on roof level and open air staircases lead to public park overlooking the river on the lower level.

site area 41'000 m²
housing 48'200 m²
units 490
inhabitants 1'960
density 470 inhabitants/ha

Romina Grillo
AAM, Italy


New developments are planned in the surroundings of the Varketili microrayon, taking advantage of available empty land facilities and infrastructure.
In the project the new buildings are proposed as the ultimate limit of the future developments. Nine towers are aligned to a new road driving from main distribution node on south to the Tbilisi Sea lake on the north. Secondary roads are connecting to microrayon indicating structure for further developments.
The new urban front maintains the strong existing relation in between high rise buildings and distant neighbourhood in the other part of the valley.
The blocks are composed by different typologies of double oriented apartments. Some storeys are developed as apartments in protected environments including foster family and communal spaces on floor.

site area 41'000 m²
housing 48'200 m²
units 490
inhabitants 1'960
density 470 inhabitants/ha

Philipp Urech
AAM, Switzerland

5 December Av. Waterfront

The site is a former solid waste deposal facing south, limited to the river by a 2 km long straight dam wall and towards north by a soviet complex of high rise housing blocks.
In the projects the difference of levels are use to propose two housing typologies: low rise L shape blocks around a courtyard with articulated roads, pedestrian circulation and public spaces, and a serie of towers placed on a park on the waterfront, functioning as landmarks for the area.

site area 111'000 m²
housing 74'900 m²
units 960
inhabitants 2'880
density 260 inhabitants/ha

Oscar Maradiaga

Airport District

The site is a pocket plot directly connected to highway leading to airport. The area is suitable for mixed use of land with offices spaces and housing units for airport employs.
A 140 metres long 12 storey building is proposed in the northern part of the plot as a screen for noise and traffic. Four storey north–south oriented housing blocks are planned on the in the protected part of the site. A net of pedestrian paths and small squares create a microclimate for social life.
The housing blocks are composed by 2 rows of duplex: apartments in the ground floor count on a courtyard as private external space, while apartments on upper levels have individual access to roof terrace.

site area 30'000 m²
housing 26'500 m²
commercial 28'200 m²
units 360
inhabitants 1'440
density 480 inhabitants/ha

George Shukakidze
GTU, Georgia

ZMK district

The site is an empty plot of land near river towards west en of the city. Only the upper part near the main road is adapted to urban development due to flood risk.
The project is intended as an extension of the existing neighbourhood, repeating the settlement principles of the workers dormitory of the ’40.
The terrain is first terraced creating flat land available for streets and buildings. Houses are placed in the middle of terraces, creating both a public space in between façade and a private external space on top of terrace limited by buildings.
In the two new neighbourhoods some blocks are let empty for public squares and facilities. In some of the buildings a typology of social apartments in protected environment are proposed taking advantage of courtyards and communal spaces.

site area 58'000 m²
housing 20'600 m²
units 344
inhabitants 1'200
density 210 inhabitants/ha

David Giorgadzei
GTU, Georgia

Programme of activities


information meeting in Mendrisio

Workshop in Georgia

Guided visits:
  • City of Tbilisi
  • Housing examples in Tbilisi
  • Folk Architecture Museum
  • 10 project sites
  • Ancient capital city of Mtskheta and surroundings

8 lectures seminary
at GTU building and SDC quarters

Workshop in Mendrisio

Design atelier
Collective critics
Projects discussion with guest critic Albero Ponis


Presentation of the projects with guest critics:
  • Sebastiano Brandolini
  • Ernesto Morosoin
  • Alberto Ponis
  • Nick Shavishvili


exhibition opening in Mendrisio


exhibition opening in Tbilisi



The WISH project
Martino Pedrozzi and Otto Krausbeck

Urban development and cultural aspects in Tbilisi
Lado Vardosanidze

Housing policy in Georgia
Natia Jokhadze

Social Housing in supportive environment
Tamuna Tsivtsivadze and Ernesto Morosin

Contemporary architecture and practice in Georgia
Nick Shavishvili

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation projects in Armenia
Peter Bommeli

Projects for the pleasure of reason
Martino Pedrozzi


L'aiuto discretto del Genius Loci
Alberto Ponis

Guest Critics

Sebastiano Brandolini

Ernesto Morosin

Alberto Ponis

Nick Shavishvili



Accademia di architettura di Mendrisio
Palazzo Turconi
Mendrisio, Switzerland


Georgian Technical University
Gallery “Universe”
Tbilisi, Georgia



Dal Ticino in Georgia e ritorno:
un’esposizione con idee e progetti degli studenti

24 Hours

From WISH to reality: Social Housing in Tbilisi
page 3

numero 7

WISH a Tbilisi
page 91



Faculty of Urban Planning and Design
Georgian Technical University
Gocha Mikiashvili


Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
Humanitarian Aid Regional Deputy Director
Ernesto Morosin


United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
Environment and Human Settlements Division
Senior Economic Affairs Officer and Deputy Director
Christina von Schweinichen

Tbilisi City Hall

Department of Health, Social and Culture Affaires
Head of Department
Mamuka Katsarava



Commission for Research Partnerships
with Developing Countries
Bern, Switzerland


Banque de Dépôts et de Gestion
Mendrisio, Switzerland

Federal Department of Foreign Affairs
of Switzerland

Embassy of Switzerland
Tbilisi, Georgia

Special Thanks

Lorenzo Amberg
Peter Bommeli
Sebastiano Brandolini
Marco Cameroni
Eka Chigogidze
Rolf Grossenbacher
Niculin Jäger
Natia Jokhadze
Mamuka Katsarava
Family Makhoshvili
Gocha Mikiashvili
Ernesto Morosin
Archil Motsonelidze
Derek Muller
Lorenzo Mussi
Alberto Ponis
Ueli Salzmann
Staff of the Swiss Embassy in Tbilisi
Nick Shavishvili
Christina von Schweinichen
Tbilisi City Hall
Tamuna Tsivtsivadze
Lado Vardosanidze
Annarita Zalaffi