Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Chief Architect Defends Yerevan Construction Boom

RFE/RL has an interesting article on the continuing controversy sourrounding the "construction boom" afflicting Yerevan at present. As in Baku, my take is that much of this construction is in violation of the law and represents corruption rather than genuine development. I think this view is shared by most people in Yerevan who are already furious with the disappearance of the city parks. In that case too, corruption is the main culprit.

The process was strongly criticized on June 30 by the chairman of Armenia’s Union of Architects, Mkrtich Minasian, who claimed that the new high-rise buildings emerging in downtown Yerevan are constructed with little government oversight and in violation of the existing safety and architectural norms.

Minasian said they are also at odds with the city center’s masterplan that was designed by Armenia’s most famous architect, Aleksandr Tamanian, during the 1920s and 1930s. It envisaged mainly five-story buildings made of tufa, a light volcanic stone widely used for construction in the mountainous country.

The redevelopment, initiated by President Robert Kocharian five years ago, will essentially yield two new avenues that will run through the heart of the city in place of old and decrepit houses. Danielian admitted that some of the expensive buildings already constructed there look like “monsters.”


Local press reports have identified senior officials in Kocharian’s staff and the government among the owners of those buildings. Danielian refused to comment on this, claiming that he does not know any of the owners personally.

The process has also been marred by allegations of foul play in the compensation of the owners of houses torn down to make room for the new properties. Many of the owners complain that the sums offered by the government are well below the prices of decent apartments in other parts of the city.

One day, the truth will be known and heads will roll. Until then, the full article can be read online here.

Tag: |

Any opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of any publication or organization that he may be working for now, in the past or in the future.