"The problem of Zvartnots has to be solved in legal environment"
14.02.2014
12:00
“We need to talk about conservation, not demolition. The problem of Zvartnots has to be solved in legal environment and the cultural component should be emphasized. None of the managers will think about this. It would be wrong to assume that someone else would solve the problem in our stead,” architect Zohrab Bauer stated at a discussion dedicated to the problem of Zvartnots airport’s old terminal demolition, held by the Media Center on February 14.

It is uncertain if the government initiates expert discussions on the issue.

“We have to state the fact that they haven't announced about any discussion, or even if debate does take place, then it lacks transparency. We don't know anything about that up till now,” said Ruben Arevshatyan, an art critic and chairman of the National Association of Art Critics.

Architect Sarhat Petrosyan pointed out the preservation of the building should be regarded as a starting point in search of solutions and public hearings should be held before taking a decision and not vice versa.

“We should not wait for the government to conduct public hearings. With the same logic, we have been waiting for 15-20 years to no avail that the government would undertake its constitutional responsibility on the protection of monuments," he added.

On December 26, 2013 the government approved the master plan proposed by the Zvartnots airport concessionaire, which also included the demolition of Zvartnots airport’s old building.

Architect Gurgen Musheghyan said there were not many buildings in Armenia like Zvartnots that could become well-known outside the borders of Armenia, and that the significance of the monument should not be considered in the light of its presence in the list of monuments selected for conservation. 

"If they are talking about standards today, it should be mentioned there was a time when other criteria were used to determine the cultural component of monuments. The Zvartnots building embodies a whole period of history, and it just needs care.”

Sarhat Petrosyan who drew parallels between the buildings of the indoor market in Yerevan and Zvartnots airport old terminal, said although the public attention was largely drawn to both cases, there were significant differences between them.

“Since in this case we are dealing with a considerably different type of investor, the tactics should be slightly different and it would be better to search for alternative solutions. We are very lucky that we are dealing with Eduardo Ernekyan instead of Samvel Aleksanyan,” said Petrosyan.

Zohrab Bauer emphasized that the building was not handled with due care and responsible officials had to be held accountable.

The documents provided by the architect show the concessionaire did not take measures to check the sustainability of the building as well.   

Ruben Arevshatyan said the government's intention to demolish the airport’s old terminal had already received a serious response from international experts and their overviews would soon be provided in the form of documents, as a continuation of the resolution adopted two years ago in Vienna, within the framework of the 19th Congress of Vienna, which not only urged the authorities of the post-Soviet states to ensure maintenance of these monuments, but also implement their academic restructuring.

On February 14, a discussion dedicated to the problem of demolition of the Zvartnots airport's old terminal was hosted by the Media Center. Architects Gurgen Musheghyan, Zohrab Bauer and Sarhat Petrosyan, as well as Ruben Arevshatyan, art critic and chairman of the Association of Art Critics, were the guest speakers of the discussion event. 

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