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"Piligrims" by Shota Bostanashvili (Grand-prix, 1988). International Cruise-competition "A space for XXI century civilization.

Six names

Shota Bostnanashvili in Studio. Early 1990s.
Exhibition "Nata/Tivi", Nectar Gallery, 2013

About "Poetics of Architecture"

Poetics of Architecture was born on water - on the Mediterranean, in June 1988 .

In June 1988 international competition of conceptual architecture was held; the topic of the competition was “A space for XXI civilization”. The competition was organized by International Academy of Architecture aboard the cruise-ship “Lev Tolstoy”. 400 young architects (under 40) from different countries participated in the competition.

Shota Bostanashvili's project The Pilgrims won the main nomination “Architecture - Culture”. The Pilgrims is a wandering island, the new continent, bearing a global undertaking: it goes where people are in need.

The Pilgrims represent five floating enormous chair-like glass structures; they symbolize repose and dialogue - making the earth an interiorized common space. On the “chairs” sit five temples of major religions; on the sixth chair a tree is placed - symbolizing Nature. The back silhouettes of “chairs” are shaped and represent different styles from various cultures. The rear facades of the “chairs” are giant monitors - language of The Pilgrims. With this metaphor, the humankind is once again alone in the endless azure of the sea beneath and the sky above. It is born again “from the waters of the deluge”.

XXI century is a symbolic space for dialogue of cultures and the repose of exhausted mankind.

Two years after the competition the architect, poet and culture theorist prof. Shota Bostanashvili (1948 - 2013) opened the studio “Poetics of Architecture” 7 June 1990 at the faculty of architecture, Georgian Technical University, as an independent entity - “free auditorium” - as an alternative to existing teaching format.

From the beginning, the studio saw support from the department of “Introduction to architecture” and later from the department of “Architectural design” and the administration of the faculty. In 2007 “Poetics of Architecture” was part of elective subjects. 2008 saw Shota Bostanashvili's dissertation thesis “Poetics of space”. In the same thesis the ground was laid to the problems of semiotics of architecture, the research of which was concluded in David Bostanashvili's dissertation thesis “Sign and Constructum” (2011). The latter work opened the way for the critical discourse of architecture. From 2008 Poetics of architecture is part of academic undergraduate curriculum at the faculty of architecture. The studio is also represented at graduate level with the course "Semiotics of culture and architectural practice". The studio is also fully engaged with architectural design course.


In the early 1990-s when the desire to build was not synchronous with our cultural condition; when construction was replaced by destruction - then came Poetics of Architecture.

"Poetics of Architecture is part of my poetry, it is a method of spatial synthesis, a new concept - movement from words to things and back. It arose from my architectural practice, went through the “Paper Architecture” and concluded in pedagogical activity". - Shota Bostanashvili

In the era of metaculture and digital technologies, space is - above all - a text - dialogue of cultures and culture of dialogue. The aim of Poetics is to revive architecture as an organizing phenomenon of artistic synthesis. With this in mind the Poetics removes chrono-topical borders and presents the genesis of architecture - variable in forms - by Names: Mass, Wall, Column, Stair, Frame, Veil. A cycle of five narratives organize these names: Becoming, Dialogue, Metamorphoses, Paradox, End.

Poetics of Architecture is an adventure of space in culture and namely in architecture.

The space of culture begins with light - “Let there be light” (Gen. 1:3). 1. Space is a “firmament” (in the midst of the waters) and a “divider” (Gen. 1:6). 2. The space is in the midst of the waters “under” and “above” (Gen. 1:7). In the Vitruvean triad (Utilitas, Firmitas, Venustas) the “firm” is already a central term. Division (inside / outside) and “under / above” (floor / ceiling) are always present paradigms of architecture, that lay a foundation for the texts of aesthetics and poetics. Metapoetics of Architecture is a reflexion on the said texts and at the same time a new practice of spatial synthesis; it is a response to the problems of our pragmatic time and crisis of “ending” in conditions of shifted epistemological field; it started at the threshold of digital technologies (1990) and it’s experience spans over twenty years.

Metapoetics of Architecture fills the vacancies left on the place of philosophy and aesthetics, the vacancies where the configuration of knowledge is altered. In this regard Poetics could, as well, be called culture philosophy of architecture.

Metapoetics of Architecture introduced new apparatus (“inter esse” and conceptual triad “Image, House, Name”) and concepts; among those the dichotomy of Constructum / Destructum is a binary pair, opposition that architecture never had. Destructum is not only a material destruction, but a conceptual one.
Shota Bostanashvili


Exhibition "Architecture towards architecture"

Press and bibliography:

Confrence speeches, masterclasses:

International conference at Art center of Jerusalem. (1994); Institute of architecture (Moscow, 1999); International treinial of architecture Interarch '97 (Sofia, 1997); Iliauni Seniotics conference (Batumi, 2010)

Archive materials:

Exhibition boards and posters; Audio and video recordings; Televised program (Georgian public broadcast 1991); Drawings, sketches, models.