Armenian Museum-Institute of Architecture has assembled huge material on Armenian architects living and working in Diaspora that will be compiled in 27 volumes. The first volume -“The Iranian-Armenian Architects” – is ready.
The book of Ashot Grigorian, head of the museum, titled “Armenian Architects of Constantinople” will be issued this year on occasion of 90th anniversary of Armenian Genocide. “We thought that there were not Armenian architects in Istanbul after 1915 before we went on research. To our great surprise we found out that the Armenians of Turkey kept on studying architecture abroad and built many unique constrictions. Researches disclosed that the word ‘architect’ came into use only after the WW II replacing the word ‘constructor’. Interestingly most of them were Armenians. We find a group of constructors beginning from 1900s and professional architects appear thereafter. Besides architects and town-planners there is also the profession of architect-decorator in Istanbul. Most of the Armenians specialized in these 3 professions have their own workshops and offices. Many of them are members of Turkish Union of Architectures and even of various international unions”, Grigorian says.
He tells that the architects from Palian dynasty were famous in Constantinople in 19th century and they are considered founders of Turkish architecture. Turks never denied this fact. Grigorian’s book is introducing 100 Armenian architects from Constantinople and presents the history of Armenian architecture in Turkey. The prologue of the book will be translated in English and Turkish.
Ashot Grigorian says that it is hard to preserve Armenian features in the works of Armenian Diaspora architects as they were brought up in other culture and that differs them from architects in Armenia. Works of the most of Diaspora architects, especially buildings designed for Armenian community, bear features of Armenian medieval architecture. Local and Diaspora architects are highly valued for combining national characteristics with modern trends, Grigorian thinks.
By Ruzan Poghosian