Congratulations to Roy Khatchadourian, University of Liverpool [M.Arch 2016], on winning the 2016 RIBA Dissertation Medal for his thesis, A Juxtaposition of Ideological Expressions: Evaluating the urban transformations of Yerevan (Armenia) during 1915-2015.
The dissertation discusses the contribution of Armenian-Russian architect Alexander Tamanyan (1878 – 1936) and his substantial work in Yerevan during the 1920s. The research investigates his attempts to create a ‘National architectural style’ and rejuvenate the country.
Following the Soviet occupation in 1920, a recently formed independent state was forcefully ended. However, its nationalistic ambitions were not completely inactive throughout the foreign rule; Tamanyan’s 1924 masterplan for the city was deeply rooted within the nationalistic rhetoric. Over time, it was widely used as an emblem to the city, presumably due to its rich political allegories and nationalistic ‘drive’. Through it, efforts were made to overcome a difficult past, by erasing specific histories from the city and replacing them by the enhancement of other selected memories.
After being forgotten for some years, Tamanyan’s efforts were revived after Armenia broke free from the Soviet Union. This was made evident in large developments within central Yerevan, acting as the ‘completion’ of Tamanyan’s vision. The Armenian diaspora, particularly from Russia and USA played an important role in these works, importing with them ideologies from abroad. Therefore, this dissertation discusses 3 phases within the recent urban transformations of Yerevan: Pre-soviet (1915-1920), Soviet (1920-1991) and Post-Soviet (1991-2015).