Containing Urban Nature
Roel Teeken

Water has always been a major challenge when it comes to urbanism, and this goes for every place on earth. Although different everywhere, water will always manifest itself without mercy. In places with the power of water human settlements usually thrive. On the shore, in the delta or alongside a river is where our world’s biggest agglomerations usually form. Urban development in these areas comes with many responsibilities, both towards nature and the city itself. Nevertheless, modern society tends to be inconsiderate towards the untameable force of nature, often with a disastrous outcome.

This goes for the city of Tbilisi as well, which has established itself on the bottom of a mountain range and is characterised by seasonal rains, resulting in major gorges cut out by the resulting watershed from the hills. The 2015 flood of the Vere River is an important example of the severity of the issue. Due to extremely heavy rainfall, 21 people have lost their lives and many more were displaced. The depletion of the surrounding environment and its resources is the main reason for this phenomenon and excessive urbanization can be blamed, with urban expansions occurring directly alongside and even on top of the river. The urgency of the situation remains, as only minimal measures have been taken towards proper containment of the river.

This project started off with an integral analysis of the Vere River Gorge, taking in account the geological, urban and natural characteristics of the area. A site at the edge of the city centre was pointed out as the design location. It having a mixed program comprising of leisure, infrastructure and civil river containment. The project outcome includes a design precept complemented by a design catalogue.