Controversy has erupted over plans to build a new Hamazgayin (All National) Theater next to the Children’s Railway in Mashtots Park.
The plan has the official approval of the current Chief Architect for Yerevan Narek Sargsyan, but former chief architect Gurgen Mousheghyan is convinced it will impact on the air quality of the city.
Some architects oppose the plan, arguing that Tamanyan’s master plan for Yerevan never envisaged building such a structure at the location. Environmental activists say the area is public space that should not be encroached up.
Meanwhile, Hamazgayin Theater Director Sos Sargsyan backs the plan and argues that the green space is currently used as a garbage dump and that no trees will be cut.
Mousheghyan told Hetq that the park site, nestled in the Hrazdan Gorge, was originally planned as a getaway for Yerevan residents, an area where they could commune with nature.
The former municipal architect said that as Yerevan grew in size, new lands were incorporated into its boundaries to ensure that citizens had the minimum space needed to survive.
Mousheghyan noted that after WWII and up till the 1970s, the construction of the city progressed according to a set plan and that a certain urban culture existed until the mid 1980s.
He said that what had been destroyed was the ring of nature that once surrounded Yerevan and was the envy of many other Soviet cities and which was a source of cooling breezes in the hot summer months.
Mousheghyan said that while he is in favour of a new National Theater building he doesn’t think that the planned for location is the most appropriate.
He argues that developers had taken the easy way out and decided to build the new theater on an empty piece of land whether than choosing a site that was actually functional and convenient.