Alex Schoelcher Captures Soviet-era Nutsubidze Plato 1 Apartment Complex and it's Residents in Tbilisi, Georgia | Yellowtrace
“To get this contextual shot of the Nutsubidze Plato I complex, I had to go door knocking several blocks down.”

Alex Schoelcher Captures Soviet-era Nutsubidze Plato 1 Apartment Complex and it's Residents in Tbilisi, Georgia | Yellowtrace
“Abstract brutalism at it’s finest. Even looking at it now I’m both hypnotised and baffled at the same time.”

Alex Schoelcher Captures Soviet-era Nutsubidze Plato 1 Apartment Complex and it's Residents in Tbilisi, Georgia | Yellowtrace
“Over the course of a few days shooting in and around the Nutsubudize Plato I complex, I frequently noticed inhabitants leaning out the windows. Without any open-air balcony access, I interpreted this as a way for them to get a breath of fresh air.”

Alex Schoelcher Captures Soviet-era Nutsubidze Plato 1 Apartment Complex and it's Residents in Tbilisi, Georgia | Yellowtrace
“Micro I (right) and Micro II (left) have as many similarities as they have differences.”

Alex Schoelcher Captures Soviet-era Nutsubidze Plato 1 Apartment Complex and it's Residents in Tbilisi, Georgia | Yellowtrace
“Andria and Tazo on the rooftop of Micro III, the last of the three buildings to be built.”

Alex Schoelcher Captures Soviet-era Nutsubidze Plato 1 Apartment Complex and it's Residents in Tbilisi, Georgia | Yellowtrace
“89 year old retired physicist Eteri inside her living room. She said that although the Nutsubidze Plato I building is old, she knows all her neighbours and likes living there.”

Alex Schoelcher Captures Soviet-era Nutsubidze Plato 1 Apartment Complex and it's Residents in Tbilisi, Georgia | Yellowtrace
“I asked Giorgi if I could take a portrait of him inside his apartment, however he turned me down on the basis of there being eight of his children inside, some of which were asleep. Having seen the size of these flats, I have no clue how his living situation was physically possible.”

Alex Schoelcher Captures Soviet-era Nutsubidze Plato 1 Apartment Complex and it's Residents in Tbilisi, Georgia | Yellowtrace
“A lady waiting for an elevator in Micro I. Lift/stairway access across the three buildings is a bit confusing, with all lifts being coin-operated, and some floors having no stair access altogether.”

Alex Schoelcher Captures Soviet-era Nutsubidze Plato 1 Apartment Complex and it's Residents in Tbilisi, Georgia | Yellowtrace
“Lana inside her undecorated bedroom. When I asked for her photo, she asked me to wait a few minutes while she did her makeup.”

Alex Schoelcher Captures Soviet-era Nutsubidze Plato 1 Apartment Complex and it's Residents in Tbilisi, Georgia | Yellowtrace
“25 year old psychologist Maiko inside the flat that she shares with her parents. She has lived in the Nutsubidze Plato I complex for 20 years, and loves it, however she wishes that the Georgian government would invest more into its’ maintenance.”

Alex Schoelcher Captures Soviet-era Nutsubidze Plato 1 Apartment Complex and it's Residents in Tbilisi, Georgia | Yellowtrace
“Portrait taking at the Nutsubidze Plato I materialised into several invitations to stay for food and drinks. On the occasions that I had to decline, they would almost always insist on giving me something for the road. Georgian hospitality, like many other countries in the region, is something special.”

 

Melbourne-based photographer Alex Schoelcher travelled to Tbilisi, Georgia and spent a week photographing the Soviet-era Nutsubidze Plato 1 apartment complex. Connected via caged sky bridge, the three towering, dystopian buildings were constructed for social housing in the mid 70’s and have received little to no maintenance ever since. More recently however, the towering monoliths are regarded with cult-like fascination as both Brutalist icons and functional relics of Georgia’s Soviet occupation.

“Plato” goes beyond revering the utilitarian structures, instead focusing on the occupants that live within the dilapidated walls. Schoelcher embeds a series of resident portraits amongst structural perspective-driven shots, hoping to provide a counterpoint to the ongoing architectural fascination. Glorifying the complex detracts from the fact that it is an emphatic reminder of the country’s turbulent past, overshadowing the stories and lives of the people who have had to live through, and in the wake of, the Soviet regime.

Rather than propel a Western fetish with the Soviet aesthetic, Schoelcher encourages attention toward the humanity within Nutsubidze Plato 1, transcending the impersonal, Brutal exteriors. Image captions give further insight into this fascinating project, in Schoelcher’s own words.

 

Related: Laurent Kronental Documents The Lives Of Senior Citizens In Large Housing Projects.

 

Alex Schoelcher Captures Soviet-era Nutsubidze Plato 1 Apartment Complex and it's Residents in Tbilisi, Georgia | Yellowtrace
“My favourite detail from the entire project.”

Alex Schoelcher Captures Soviet-era Nutsubidze Plato 1 Apartment Complex and it's Residents in Tbilisi, Georgia | Yellowtrace
“A kitchen detail.”

Alex Schoelcher Captures Soviet-era Nutsubidze Plato 1 Apartment Complex and it's Residents in Tbilisi, Georgia | Yellowtrace

Alex Schoelcher Captures Soviet-era Nutsubidze Plato 1 Apartment Complex and it's Residents in Tbilisi, Georgia | Yellowtrace
“Marine inside her multi-functional living room.”

Alex Schoelcher Captures Soviet-era Nutsubidze Plato 1 Apartment Complex and it's Residents in Tbilisi, Georgia | Yellowtrace
“Monty and David are the only two subjects not photographed inside the Nutsubidze Plato I complex. Originally I knocked on their door to try and get a balcony photograph of the complex, and the scene within is what provided the light bulb moment to photograph the inside of it as well.”

Alex Schoelcher Captures Soviet-era Nutsubidze Plato 1 Apartment Complex and it's Residents in Tbilisi, Georgia | Yellowtrace
“68 year old Mzia is the lift operate across the three buildings. A veteran of the 1992-1994 Abkhazia War, she’s been working at the Nutsubidze Plato I since 2006. As the other lift operator was indefinitely off work due to a recent operation, Mzia was living in the building on call permanently. Without her blessings, the lifts don’t move.”

Alex Schoelcher Captures Soviet-era Nutsubidze Plato 1 Apartment Complex and it's Residents in Tbilisi, Georgia | Yellowtrace
“58 year old teacher Nino insider her flat. Originally I wanted to take her portrait without the dog, but apparently letting go was not an option.”

Alex Schoelcher Captures Soviet-era Nutsubidze Plato 1 Apartment Complex and it's Residents in Tbilisi, Georgia | Yellowtrace
“Petre at his grandparents apartment in the Nutsubidze Plato I. Flats like this one really caught me off guard, given how dilapidated the complex looks from the outside.”

Alex Schoelcher Captures Soviet-era Nutsubidze Plato 1 Apartment Complex and it's Residents in Tbilisi, Georgia | Yellowtrace
“A well loved yet apparently unnamed dog tied up outside one of the apartments. He didn’t look in great shape, although the plastic stud on his ear means that he’s been vaccinated.”

Alex Schoelcher Captures Soviet-era Nutsubidze Plato 1 Apartment Complex and it's Residents in Tbilisi, Georgia | Yellowtrace
“Unemployed journalist Tamar in her bedroom. She has lived at the Nutsubidze Plato I for the last 10 years with her parents.”

Alex Schoelcher Captures Soviet-era Nutsubidze Plato 1 Apartment Complex and it's Residents in Tbilisi, Georgia | Yellowtrace
“Security guard Tornike agreed to let me take his photo, provided that I didn’t show his face. This is a problem I have encountered frequently with photographing people in uniform on my travels.”

Alex Schoelcher Captures Soviet-era Nutsubidze Plato 1 Apartment Complex and it's Residents in Tbilisi, Georgia | Yellowtrace
“A portrait of Tsitso’s husband, who unfortunately is no longer with us.”

Alex Schoelcher Captures Soviet-era Nutsubidze Plato 1 Apartment Complex and it's Residents in Tbilisi, Georgia | Yellowtrace
“78 year old retired librarian Tsitso inside her living room. A year on, after emailing her daughter the final edit of the photo, I learnt that it was her birthday that day, and that having her photo taken was something she really enjoyed.”

Alex Schoelcher Captures Soviet-era Nutsubidze Plato 1 Apartment Complex and it's Residents in Tbilisi, Georgia | Yellowtrace
“77 year old retired engineer Valeri inside of apartment. He was equally as stoic as he was hospitable, and spoke to me about his son who apparently lives in Sydney.”

Alex Schoelcher Captures Soviet-era Nutsubidze Plato 1 Apartment Complex and it's Residents in Tbilisi, Georgia | Yellowtrace
“Valentina and Ia on the suspension bridge connecting Micro I and Micro II. Neither of them live in the Nutsubidze Plato I complex, and were simply there to see the view for themselves.”

Alex Schoelcher Captures Soviet-era Nutsubidze Plato 1 Apartment Complex and it's Residents in Tbilisi, Georgia | Yellowtrace
“Micro I, built in the mid 1970s, reminds me of Howl’s Moving Castle.”

Alex Schoelcher Captures Soviet-era Nutsubidze Plato 1 Apartment Complex and it's Residents in Tbilisi, Georgia | Yellowtrace
“An oppressive dusk shot of the suspension bridge that connects Micro II and III.”

Alex Schoelcher Captures Soviet-era Nutsubidze Plato 1 Apartment Complex and it's Residents in Tbilisi, Georgia | Yellowtrace
“A horizontal perspective of the same angle.”

Alex Schoelcher Captures Soviet-era Nutsubidze Plato 1 Apartment Complex and it's Residents in Tbilisi, Georgia | Yellowtrace
“A candid moment shot from the Plato.”

Alex Schoelcher Captures Soviet-era Nutsubidze Plato 1 Apartment Complex and it's Residents in Tbilisi, Georgia | Yellowtrace
“From a grounded perspective, the Nutsubidze Plato I almost becomes cartoonish in its’ enormity.”

Alex Schoelcher Captures Soviet-era Nutsubidze Plato 1 Apartment Complex and it's Residents in Tbilisi, Georgia | Yellowtrace
“Probably my favourite architectural shot from the project, in spite of the fact that it doesn’t include the first of the three constructed buildings. The person on the rusty suspension bridge provides a real sense of the colossal scale of the structure.”

 


[Images © Alex Schoelcher.]

 

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4 Responses

  1. Avatar
    Vic

    Many of the comments in the captions are patronising, giving the overall impression that the photographer is a brat.

    Reply
    • Dana Tomić Hughes
      Dana Tomić Hughes

      Not sure how you reached that conclusion, Vic, but I assure you have I had the same opinion as you, I would not have chosen to feature Alex’s insightful and fascinating project.

      Reply

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