Open Call: Tbilisi – Common Architecture Biennial 2020

Geschrieben am 07.07.2020
Kategorie(n): ARCH+ news, Open Call, Tbilisi, Biennial

Biennial: October  17 – November  8, 2020
•    Submissions open: 20 June 2020
•    Submissions close: 31 July 2020, 12:00 CET
•    Selections announced: 15 August 2020

Tbilisi Architecture Biennial 2020


Tbilisi Architecture Biennial will accept proposals for its International Open Call from June 20 through July 31, 2020. The winning proposals will be realized during the event in October/November 2020 digitally and in selected locations in Tbilisi and around the world.

The notion of “commons” unites open resources of any kind: natural, cultural, spatial, material and immaterial – of which ownership and access is shared. These common resources need to be maintained, as do the collection of practices that govern and preserve them. Yet Georgia's rapid shift to a neoliberal political system in the 1990s resulted in a new understanding of these commons - resources that are open for commodification and individualisation. As finite resources, these commons need to be sustained, nurtured and managed by communities and professionals. Architects, urbanists and state institutions have a fundamental role to play in the reclamation of the commons - no more so than in Tbilisi.

The second edition of the Tbilisi Architecture Biennial, which is conceived under the name ‘What Do We Have in Common?'’ proposes to take a closer look at the notion of commonness in our increasingly individualised and fragmented societies. After the dramatic collapse of the Soviet Union, several barely recognised countries were added to the world map. These newly born “post-socialist” states had to undergo an inevitable but painful transformation from planned to market economy - economic transition that has been expressed  in both the city's cultural norms and its urban fabric. A “collectively” organised society became increasingly individualised, the planned urban spaces turned into more fragmented and divided ones. Entire process of urban and socio-economic transition seemed to forget the feeling of common space and collectivity. Spaces of common inhabitation and collective use have become predominantly infrastructural, turning into spaces of transition and uninterrupted functionality.

In our local reality the post-soviet spatial, political and social transformation has been accompanied by many new understandings and an urban vocabulary. The understanding of common space has developed into a very complex issue. By questioning  the notion of the “common” TAB would like to address several layers of urban space in Tbilisi, and explore the internal and external, the material and imaginary, through examining the significance of the transformation processes and the consequences it has had on common space. The staircases, neighborhood patios, thresholds, roofs of the residential blocks, public parks and squares, rarely or unused public/private buildings, shared self-governed open spaces – they all belong to the beginnings of a  “common” urban vocabulary that TAB attempts to enrich, study and research, by investigating ownership structures,“common” space transformations, everyday spatial common practices, the spaces of resistance and much more.

Meanwhile – Covid 19

While working on the second edition of the Tbilisi Architecture Biennial by questioning “what do we have in common?” to the surprise of the organizers the answers were found much sooner than expected. With the sudden shifts in our daily lives that happened due to the ongoing pandemic, it became clear that there are much more things the world actually has in common. On the other hand, it is important to note that the pandemic exposed and intensified existing inequalities on the global scale.
The impact of Covid-19 raises new questions about the role of common spaces. What is the effect of restrictions related to public spaces on society? How can we uphold a sense of community that goes beyond borders in the midst of growing nationalism? In times of closing borders, increasingly restrictive migration policies and fragile states, it is essential to examine practices of exclusion and their consequences. This includes analyzing how the new reality of a divided continent manifests itself in public spaces.
TAB is planning to turn newly emerged restrictions into opportunities and realize the Biennial almost exclusively on a virtual platform where geographic limitations become irrelevant. The reinvented Biennial aims at becoming a voice, which can be spread even further in order to reach out to more people globally. This way the event will transform itself into a “Common Architecture Biennial”, emerging from Tbilisi but attempting to propagate the concept of “togetherness” far beyond the borders of Tbilisi and Georgia.
Among the other new opportunities will be used for highlight marginal perspectives on shared spaces that are frequently overlooked in professional contexts, and open virtual windows for imaginative ways for assisting each other.

TAB accepts proposals in four different categories
(detailed description see below):

1.    Physical projects (works/research in any physical format)
2.    Digital projects (works/research in any digital media format)
3.    Educational activity / Workshop
4.    Contributions to publication

Applications and all related questions should be directed to the following e-mail:
Please indicate in the subject line the title of the category you are applying for. 

All informations below or here:


Virtual space

The second edition of the Tbilisi Architecture Biennial will be carried out in a digital space where the website will become the main platform of the event. It will incorporate various media in order to support diverse formats of events. Shifting the Biennial online will ensure a wider outreach and participation on a global scale. It will become a transcontinental event, activating different places worldwide and spilling its activities beyond Tbilisi. In parallel to being able to avoid the challenges imposed by the pandemic, the digital platform will open up many more possibilities and introduce new spaces for creativity that can f implementat ideas in new ways

The Biennial as a platform is conceived as a space, which will bring together all emerging works, discussions and ideas under one roof. The TAB 2020 website will be formed by a digital building prototype, which will be slowly filled with the activities realised during the TAB 2020 and evolve into a common symbolic structure. "Clean and level the floor and ceiling. The rest is up to you": Be it Le Corbusier's Dom-Ino or Alejandro Aravena's half-complete social housing units when translated into semiotic of Shavi Karkasi generate new architectural narratives: who are the dwellers of the bare frame and what do they have in common?

The proposed ideas can be realised anywhere in the world, as long as they can be digitally presented through the TAB 2020 platform.

Who can apply

All interested architects, artists, writers,  scholars, urbanists, creative individuals regardless of location, age or past experience are invited to submit a proposal. The application process is free of charge.

Submission process

Applications must be submitted in English or Georgian. All received proposals will be rated by an international jury anonymously, based on the quality of the idea and its direct reference to the main concept of TAB 2020. Selected projects will have an opportunity to be realized in a digital or physical format with no limit to geographic locations. All projects must have a clear relation to the theme of the Biennial - “What Do We Have In Common”

Detailed description of terms of application

1. Physical Project

Applicants are free to suggest any format of their own preference with no geographic restrictions. However, it is mandatory that the produced works have to be realised physically and should have capacity of being linked to and presented through the website of the Biennial.

Requested documents:
1. Short description of the project idea (max. 500 words)  
2. Sketch/photo/render of the work and its technical description including information on dimensions, color, orientation, working material, physical location etc. (pdf or jpeg format)
3. Portfolio (optional) and CV of the applicant
4. Budget of the project.  

3 selected participants will be awarded a maximum amount of 3,000 Euros each for covering production costs as well as artistic fees. 1 additional project will be funded with a maximum of 2,000 Euros for covering production costs and artists’ fees.

2. Digital Project

Applicants are free to suggest any format of their own preference, which can be realized in a digital media. It is mandatory that the images of work  should have capacity of being linked to and presented through the website of the Biennial.

Requested documents:
1. Short description of the project idea (max. 500 words)  
2. Sketch/photo/render of the work and its technical description including information on dimensions, color, orientation, working material etc. (pdf or jpeg format).
3. Portfolio (optional) and CV of the applicant
4. Budget of the project.  

4 selected participants will be awarded a maximum amount of 800 Euros each for covering production costs as well as artistic fees.

3. Educational Activity/Workshop

There will be two workshops offered in the frames of TAB 2020. Their duration may vary depending on the situation regarding COVID-19 and ability to conduct them as physical or digital events with duration between 5 days (full time, physical space) and two weeks (half day online events).

Those interested in facilitation of the workshops are welcome to submit the following documents:
1. CV and portfolio of the applicant
2. Description of the concept including topic and components of the workshop (max. 500 words).
Selected facilitators will be offered honorariums. All other costs related to travel and accommodation (in case it is possible), rental of premises and workshop materials will be covered by the Biennial.
Note: This open call is for selection of facilitators and themes of the workshops only. Separate open call for selection of participants will be announced at a later date.

4. Contributions to publication

Tbilisi Architecture Biennial plans to build on its previous experience and this time encourages inclusion of articles/texts of even more diverse groups in its publication. Papers will be selected through the open call which will allow researchers, young professionals, scholars, urbanists, artists and other interested stakeholders from a wide range of disciplines to submit abstracts that focus on the main topic of the Biennial “What Do We Have in Common”.

Applicants should submit abstracts

of up to 500 words along with a motivation letter (250 words) and a short bio of the author (200 words).
All submissions will be subject to review by an invited jury. Language of submission is English, format: pdf file.
5 selected candidates will be awarded a lump sum of 500 Euros. This sum includes all applicable taxes. All selected papers will be included in the publication of the Tbilisi Architecture Biennial 2020. Submitted papers/texts should not already have been published earlier in any academic or relative publications.

Selection process

Proposals will be evaluated by an international interdisciplinary jury, which will consist of the representatives of the partner organisations of the Tbilisi Architecture Biennial MetaLab (Ukraine), C /O  NOW (Germany), Meleem Skopje (North Macedonia)  and invited experts. The applications will be kept anonymous and randomized to make sure each submission receives the same fair consideration.

The contest will be held in two steps. During the first step the jury will review all applications to select a short-list of the best proposals. Representatives of the shortlisted projects will then be invited to interviews which will be conducted on August 11-12, 2020. The jury will evaluate the projects based on the relevance of the concept with the main topic of the Biennial, their impact, feasibility, urgency of the topic and conformity with the suggested terms of application and budget. The jury reserves the right not to reveal a winner if none of submitted applications fulfill requirements of the contest.


Final decision on the outcomes of the open call will be announced on August 15, 2020.


Project participants will retain all rights to their ideas and designs. The Biennial retains the right to create printed and digital materials including the installations created by artists, crediting the artists. Original applications and supporting materials (description, budget, sketches/photos/renders) will be kept in the archive of the Tbilisi Architecture Biennial and not be transferred to the third parties.




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