It is planned to introduce raw brick production technology in the territory of the Erebuni Museum-Reserve and use it to restore the Erebuni Citadel, as well as stimulate the tourist attraction of the historical area.
Recently, a meeting was held at the Yerevan Municipality. The meeting was attended by the representative of the International Association of French-Speaking Mayors Arianna Ardesy, a member of the International Clay Architecture Conservation Center Association (CRAterre) Bakonirina Rakotomamonji, and Professor at the Higher National School of Architecture of Lyon and researcher at the EVS-LAURE laboratory Susan Monno.
The program of financial and technical assistance for the implementation of the preservation and restoration of the historic area of Erebuni was discussed. Besides, the sides talked about the launch of works under the agreement “Financial and Technical Assistance” signed between the Municipality of Yerevan and the mentioned associations.
Correspondent of Voice of Armenia met Susan Monno and asked her to tell in detail about this important project.
Monno: Since 1998, Yerevan has been a member of the International Association of French-Speaking Mayors, and during this time, numerous cooperation programs have been implemented and continue to be implemented. One of these is the program “Financial and technical assistance for the implementation of the preservation and restoration of the historic area of Erebuni.”
Since 2008, the Higher National School of Architecture of Lyon and the National University of Architecture and Construction of Armenia signed a long-term cooperation agreement. This wonderful idea was conceived by then rector Laurent Gilini.
In 2007, he visited Western Armenia and was shocked by the most ancient Armenian architectural monuments. After returning, Gilini appealed to the French Ministry of Culture with a request to help establish contacts with Armenian colleagues.
Voice of Armenia: Ms. Monno, you are taking part in almost all joint projects. What is the reason for this?
I am Armenian and was born in Etchmiadzin. My grandfather who had survived the Genocide grew up in a shelter in France. In 1947, our family moved to Armenia but then returned to France. Since then, I have been living and working in Lyon.
So there is nothing surprising in the fact that I take an active part in various projects related to my historical Motherland. I want to note that the ties between the architects of Lyon and Yerevan are old – their roots come from the Soviet era.
Now, thanks to the rector of Lyon’s Higher National School of Architecture Natalie Mesurier and the rector of the National University of Architecture and Construction of Armenia Gagik Galstyan, we are implementing several important projects, including student exchange, advanced training for teachers, and others.
Let’s get back to the Erebuni project. The importance of its implementation in anticipation of the celebration of the 2800th anniversary of Yerevan is difficult to overestimate.
We are planning to introduce raw brick production technology on the territory of the Erebuni Museum-Reserve and use it to restore the Erebuni Citadel, as well as to stimulate the tourist attraction of the historical area.
In Soviet times, during restoration works, modern building materials and concrete have been used here. But the citadel is one of the masterpieces of earthen architecture of the whole region. Let’s not forget that earthen architecture is the oldest on the planet. One of the first types of dwellings was dugouts that are common throughout Northern Europe, the Middle East, China, and Africa.
As for Armenia, our country is very rich in such monuments. The most ancient of the known structures are in Aratashen (8th-4th millennia BC) and Aknashen (8th-7th millennium BC) located in the Armavir Province.
Starting from the 4th millennium BC and until the Middle Ages, this direction in architecture has been very common in the territory of the Armenian Highlands, as evidenced by all, without exception, buildings in Shengavit, Erebuni, Karmir Blur, Teishebaini, and the Artsakh Tigranakert.
I named the most famous monuments. But in almost every settlement of the Ararat valley, you can see earthen buildings, and very ancient ones.
Is it possible to say that earthen architecture is experiencing its rebirth today?
Of course. Land is one of the cheapest and affordable building materials. Some well-known architects are beginning to recognize that the earth has great potential and that the modern construction industry, which has made this technology obsolete, might try to reconsider their dogmas in the light of the need to create building systems that comply with the principles of sustainable development. Unfortunately, today in Armenia, there are practically no specialists in this field. And one of the points of our cooperation is to fill this gap.
Tigran Mirzoyan, “Voice of Armenia”