Travel and adventure in former communist icon.

Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, is a rapidly expanding city, currently counting 1,2 million inhabitants. Its central train station, famous for its Gold Market with jewellery, is surrounded by a growing number of regional buses and taxi's. Zwarts & Jansma Architects was asked by GRDC
to redesign the train station, turning it into a modern travellers hub with shopping and services.

Tbilisi Central trainstation is located at the end of an important north-south axis in the urban structure and offers pedestrians one of the scarce possibilities to cross the railway tracks that divide the city in two parts. The international airport of Georgia is located at only a half our ride from the station.

The existing station building however, does not offer the quality and atmosphere of a modern travellers hub and important pedestrian route: it is a run-down, concrete left-over from the communist era. Dutch and Georgian developers are willing to invest in the redevelopment of this area in order to turn the station into a modern, up-to-date commercial center suited to the emerging middle-class of Georgia. The Amsterdam based office Zwarts & Jansma Architects drew up the preliminary design.

The plan offers an improved route for pedestrians crossing the railway tracks and opens up the introvert building by adding an east-west axis with shopping & services. A face-lift of the facade with coloured LED-lights gives the building a modern, state-of-the-art look. Shopping & services will be based around a theme suited to a travellers hub: Travel & Adventure (outdoor clothing, travel agencies etc.)

Coffee corners, fast food and kiosks will serve the flow of people crossing the railway tracks. The large basement of the building provides big numbers of square metres wanted by supermarkets and department-stores. A central part of the shopping-area will be reserved for the existing Gold Martket, a handycraft market with jewellery. Attached to the ceiling of the station, a huge globe will symbolize the station's renewed self-esteem.

Client: GRDC