05-06-2013
Reconstruction of Republic Square-who wants what
Eritasard.am presents views on one of the most recent controversial issues.
On May 30, Yerevan Municipality announced an open republican architecture tender to have a conceptual plan for the reconstruction of Republic Square in Yerevan. Representatives of the municipality say the decision has been confirmed by the committee of architects. But President of the Union of Architects of Armenia Mkrtich Minasyan assures that there are flaws in the terms and conditions for the tender and several wrong formulations that present a danger. “There is no urgent need to reconstruct Republic Square. There are many architectural structures and other squares in Yerevan that are in more need of full renovation,” says Mr. Minasyan. According to him, the need had to be studied well prior to the announcement of the tender. There are special preconditions according to which there is no need for new buildings at Republic Square. It is a monument that requires the permission of the Ministry of Culture for any changes. Environmentalists represent the other wing that is opposed to the tender. Environmentalist Karine Danielyan says there wouldn’t be a dispute, if it concerned the replacement of only Lenin’s statue, but in this case we are dealing with a conceptual reconstruction, which is inacceptable. “I believe this is the last drop. Urban development is wiping Yerevan in the sense of urban development and ecology. Even if we suffered losses during the Soviet era, at least the core remained. But we destroyed everything during the years of independence. I’m not only talking about Republic Square. This is a reflection of the entire process of urban development,” says Danielyan. After listening to the public discourse, Chief Architect of Yerevan Narek Sargsyan finally decided to make some specifications since the problem wasn’t being observed from a right angle. “Announcing a tender doesn’t imply the construction of a structure, the appropriation of funding or other similar actions. The goal of the tender that has been announced is to identify the problems that have been raised through public discourse, find the solutions to those problems and form a vision for the future development of Republic Square,” as stated in Mr. Sargsyan’s clarification. Several citizens of Yerevan have made proposals and submitted projects to Yerevan Municipality. Taking into consideration the fact that it is impossible to make a decision on each of those proposals and projects at the local level, the architecture committee of Yerevan’s urban development board decided to develop a specific concept. “The goal of holding the tender is to sum up experts’ ideas and project proposals and rule out the solution at the local level,” says the chief architect, adding: “Just the fact that the Republic Square has now turned into an overloaded transportation junction and is not fully used as a public area already requires an urgent solution and is a condition for the announcement of a tender. But architects are also concerned about parking at the square. According to them, there might be hidden archaeological layers that are probably very valuable and can be eliminated as a result of the use of construction technologies. “We shouldn’t do anything to Republic Square…Geologists claim that the risks of an earthquake shouldn’t be increased anymore. The example of the “Pak Shuka” (Closed Market) shows that Yerevan might also lose Republic Square as soon as permission is granted,” says environmentalist Karine Danielyan. Gallery: Republic Square (Yerevan) Tsovinar Karapetyan