Debate over Dismantlement of the Building on 30 Aram Street
Today Media Center held a discussion on dismantlement of the building on 30 Aram Street. The participants were Ashot Alexanyan, the architect, the author of the project, under-construction building located behind 30 Aram street, Arsen Karapetyan, architect at the ARCHcoop Arhitectural Studio, Anahit Bakhshyan, teacher, member of the Yerevan city council and the block “Hello Yerevan” and Levon Igityan, architect, faction member of the “Republican Party.”

Only a few days ago the building on 30 Aram Street was destroyed to the ground, which raised great concern among civil society.

Meanwhile, according to the Yerevan municipality’s official explanation, RA Government by its decision 108-N of 25.01.2007 recognized the building on 30 Aram Street and a number of other buildings located nearby as “exclusive supreme public interest.” Area Acquirer is “AVO F.M.” LTD which started out constructions of multi-apartment buildings, trade and social centers in the fenced areas on Abovyan, Aram, Pushkin and Nalbandyan Streets.

Ashot Aleksanyan stated that 30 Aram Street is just a tiny island within the construction of overall project.

“Aram Street is quite narrow and is located behind the National Gallery of Armenia. It has a very uncomfortable sidewalk from the Gallery side, which cannot be used by elderly people or people using wheelchair since there are stairs on the way. In addition, the Republic Square is full of public transport and we have a desperate need to solve this issue. The Republic Square should be bypassed and the only solution is Aram Street, which need to be enlarged, removed from the back of National Gallery of Armenia and an additional sidewalk should be created,” said Alexanyan.

He notes that on the territory of the dismantled building no other construction is envisaged and only the area of the sidewalk would be increased.  All those means of transport that would bypass the Republic Square should pass by Aram Street, since the reconstruction activities should be implemented instead of asphalt paving. It is a large-scale program approved by the Government. By that place should pass the sewerage, water systems and electric cables. For the implementation of all the above-mentioned we need the city predisposition, public transport predisposition. Moreover, the house located on 30 Aram Street has never been a monument and cannot be considered as a historic-cultural monument,” noted Alexanyan.

The architect, Arsen Karapetyan said that today’s urban development does not correspond to the modern society’s and modern government’s demands and corresponds more to monarchical and totalitarian regime.

 “We are too far behind. Undoubtedly, urban development should have environmental policy. In regards with the main plan of zoning, there is a solution, but we will not discuss the conditions under which the plan was accepted and which methods were used for developing it. This is just one option for the solution of the issue, but there was neither the debate over the ideas nor public involvement in the solution of such an important issue,” noted Karapetyan .

He also referred to the historical value of the building and stressed that there is no universal criteria for defining the building as a historical monument or not.

 “If people have memories with this small building, it does not mean it is a monument. And the approach that we have regarding main buildings is also old, everything is very important. For instance, why the Opera building is more important than the Closed Market (Pak Shuka) from the architectural perspective, If one can explain me this objectively and scientifically, I will be very happy,” raised the issue Karapetyan.

Levon Igityan objected, saying that if a society says that the building on 30 Aram Street has a cost, than he is sorry for this society.

We are not so poor inside; we do not make noise because of some storage area. If someone tries to affect YSU Black building, or AOKS Building I will spend the night over there and will not let to destroy it. But in this case the Northern Avenue dynamics reaches Abovyan Street, which is located on its way. There is a territorial issue… Today, we witness the situation in our society, when people make a mess, engage in demagogy and want to look oppositional,” pointed out Igityan.

Anahit Bakhshyan said that what is planned to have on territory may be beautiful.

However, on the other side it is difficult for me to agree that this building cannot be a monument. Certainly, the construction materials of those times were different, but the place that have memories with Yerevan cannot but be considered as a monument. In those times it used to be one of the best buildings of Yerevan, and it is impossible not to consider it as a monument. If we refer to Afrikyan building it is noteworthy that piece by piece the building was destroyed, and eventually it became clear that the Afrikyan building was destroyed for enlarging the sidewalk. “Now how can we easily agree with you,” said Bakhshyan addressing her issues of concern to other speakers.


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