Art critic and FAR Press Secretary Levon Lachikyan recently held a press conference at Yerevan’s Urbat Club about how urban environment impacts citizen growth and trajectory. In doing so, he described Yerevan. “In recent years, Armenia’s capital has radically changed its face. Its aesthetic image has been damaged, distorted. As a result, today Yerevan’s architecture is eclectic. There is nothing to distinguish it. It simply lacks a common style. Everyone builds whatever he wants, wherever he wants, whether these new structures be beauty salons, pharmacies, cafes or restaurants.”
“This is incredibly sad,” Lachikyan noted. Years ago Yerevan was known for its cultural spirit. Armenia’s capital gradually ceased being a purely pedestrian city. Today, the whole area is geared toward vehicles, leaving parks and green spaces to deteriorate and be forgotten. It is imperative that such spaces be cherished and protected, he said.
Concerned about Yerevan’s fate, Lachikyan also made a few interesting suggestions. It is urgent, he said, to strengthen the state’s oversight and regulation of planning and construction within the city. It is necessary to impose regulations, so that every newly constructed building’s ground floor provides something to the public, whether it is a library, a theater, or another type of cultural center. Another one of Lachikyan’s suggestions was to replace all of the casinos on the road between Yerevan and Zvartnots Airport with 36 statues of the alphabet’s letters. This is significant for many reasons, primarily because the year 2012 will mark the 500th anniversary of the first printed Armenian book. During the same year Yerevan will also hold the UNESCO title of World Book Capital.