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Sevan Writers’ House - Soviet Modernist Architecture in Armenia

Situated on the shore of Lake Sevan, this hotel, built during Soviet times, showcases a unique architectural design that continues to captivate tourists from around the world even in modern times. When visiting Sevan, stop by for a cup of coffee, immerse yourself in the rich history of Armenian architecture and enjoy the view that opens up from the Dining Hall

Made from concrete, Sevan Writers' House consists of two separate structures, Residence Hall and Lounge Building, both erected at different times during the Soviet reign.

The Residence Hall was designed by Gevorg Kochar (1901-1973) and Mikayel Mazmanyan (1899-1971). The examination of archival materials revealed that Mikayel Mazmanyan’s name  is not mentioned on the project’s architectural drawings, which leads to the assumption that he only participated in the preliminary stage of design. At the same time, his name is mentioned in many publications, including some printed during their lifetime, as co-author of the building.




Sevan Writers' House in 1970. Photo: Nemrut Baghdasarian



The first drawings of the Residence Hall are dated 1932, while archival photographs and materials suggest that the construction was completed in 1935.

The building was initially designed as a four-storey building. One of these was a basement (now the first floor), the other was a common area. The other two floors were designed for guest rooms with four rooms on each floor, each room occupying an area of 4.3m x 2.9m (9.5”x14”).

 



sketch, architecture, architectural design

 

Sketch of the building, 1963

Architect: G. Kochar

Source: Archives of the National Museum-Institute of Architecture named after Alexander Tamanyan, Yerevan

 

Sadly, The Great Purge or the Great Terror (1937), didn't bypass both architects and they were sent to the Gulag (a system of forced labor camps established during Joseph Stalin's reign) and were only rehabilitated in 1955. After their return, they were reintegrated into the architectural life of the post-Stalinist period.

In 1963, Kochar was commissioned to develop a reconstruction and an extension project for the Sevan Resort. In the reconstruction project, Kochar added an additional floor to the Residence Hall, forming a new wide terrace, which was the logical continuation of the original project's concept.

 

During the resort's reconstruction, Kochar also designed and built the new Lounge Building. Stylistically, the new building contrasted with the Residence Hall, but both of them formed a harmonious ensemble in combination with the natural landscape and incorporated the view of the medieval architecture of Sevan Monastery churches on the top of the peninsula. After the reconstruction, the Lounge and the Residence Hall of Sevan Writers House became one of the most iconic buildings of post-Stalin modernist Soviet Architecture.


Sevan Writers' House, Dining Hall

The view from the Dining Hall


The Lounge with it’s protruding rounded design is definitely the trademark of the complex and stands harmoniously among the rocky terrain and offers an unforgettable panoramic view from inside! Moreover, the entire wing is balanced on one concrete leg, giving the structure a futuristic aesthetic. At the opposite end of its axis, the building is attached to the rock on a higher level of the hill. The overall space of the Lounge building is divided into two major parts. One part is the dining hall, which has a circular plan and is located towards the front of the building. Half of the dining hall circle is designed as a panoramic floor-to-ceiling window looking over a spectacular view of Lake Sevan. The dining hall also has an exit to a semi-circular open-sided loggia behind the panoramic window. The second part, in the rear half of the building is used for the foyer of the dining hall.



The Residence Hall

 

Unfortunately, the complex has not been renovated for a long time, but tuning in and enjoying a cup of beer or coffee can always have a relaxing effect! The view from the Lounge is breathtaking! Cheers!

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