British architects are leading international calls to save Terminal 1 of Armenia’s Zvartnots airport, one of the jewels of Soviet crown, which now looks like a monolithic space-city straight out of science fiction, according to the Daily Mail.
After it was built in the 1970s, more than 2,500 passengers crowded through the country’s most modern airport terminal every hour. For them, it was the height of luxury with a restaurant high up on the central control tower and views across to the Armenian capital Yerevan.
Leading British architect Tim Flynn says the airport is an outstanding piece of architecture. His London-based international practice has had an office in Yerevan for 14 years.
And he hopes that the new government in Armenia which came to power after May’s Velvet Revolution will decide Zvartnots is a historical building worth preserving. He warns, however, that the longer it’s left to crumble away, the chances of saving it diminish.
“I realize the new prime minister has a lot on his plate, but I hope his conscience will lead to a change of plan. Whatever you think of the old Soviet Union, the buildings from this period were extraordinary and adventurous, a piece of history,” the Daily Mail quotes Flynn as saying.
Clem Cecil, of SAVE Europe’s Heritage and director of London’s Pushkin House, the Russian cultural centre, said: ‘The Zvartnots building is a classic of its kind – it should be saved. It was built in a period when Stalin’s grip had been broken and Soviet architects were experimenting with international influences.”
“Zvartnots is very cutting edge and reflects the excitement of the times. The problem is it’s been under-appreciated and vulnerable. The fact there’s a growing effort to save it is good news,” she noted.