Melkonian University Complex

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Armenia News Magazine Issued February 2008 July 29, 2008

It is the greatest gift that AGBU could give to the Armenian youth: a modern university, located in the city centre and which will hold the best terms 1000 students per year. We spoke with its designer Aris Atamian.

Armenian News Magazine: In our previous issue, Alexis Govciyan, new president of the AGBU in Europe, announced the creation in Yerevan of a large university. Can you give us more information about this?

Aris Atamian (AA): The AGBU decided to invest in Armenia in three major projects: summer camps, a city summer around Lake Sévan Melkonian and complex, which is its flagship program for this decade. An accomplishment that is especially for the diaspora, but in Armenia. The aim is to achieve a university city with a capacity of 400 students on cycles of three to six months. So a thousand people that can be accommodated each year. The decision was taken in October 2007, during a meeting of the Board of the World AGBU. The land, with an area of one hectare and a half, ideally situated in the centre of Yerevan, has already been purchased. The complex, located 700 meters from the Place de la Republique, will be accessible from the second device. The start of work is scheduled for the end of this year or at the latest, early 2009.

Their duration is planned for a pe riod of 18 to 24 months.

NAM: Why this project, in particular, was it used?

AA: When you know how much a two-week visit marks strongly youth, we can imagine the impact of a stay of three or six months. We want to make a unique experience in the motherland at a key moment in life. This is not the case of tourism. It is a project that is both ambitious and realistic, near the youth.

NAM: What are the conditions for the admission of students?

AA: This is welcome young people from throughout the diaspora who have already started a university course and want to benefit from a graduate program in Armenia. In recent years, many American and European universities encourage students to make semesters in institutions abroad. Our goal is that students get modules equivalency type Erasmus. Agreements have been engaged with universities Armenian, American, French and Russian in Armenia.

NAM: This campus is aimed she only students of the diaspora?

AA: Not. We decided to include 20% of students from Armenia in order that there be harmony among young people from diverse backgrounds. It will be deserving students who will receive a total free accommodation. It is a flagship project for the AGBU but it is also an essential project for Armenia. This programme, which is intended primarily for young people in the diaspora, will be both useful to people who are invited in Armenia and also to the Armenians in Yerevan.

NAM: Why this complicated deals he Melkonian name?

AA: Our project called Melkonian Complex because it will be funded in large part by funds obtained through a partial disposal of the land of Cyprus. The dream initial brothers Melkonian was to establish an academy in Armenia.

This was not possible at that time was today 16 years after independence: devote himself to the development of the Armenian youth from around the world. The Institute of Cyprus Melkonian was gradually closed between 2004 and 2007. At the same time the idea of creating a major international university in Armenia took shape under the name Melkonian Complex.complexe-melkonian2.jpg It is a logical sequel to the original vision Melkonian brothers. It is obvious that the interest of residence for students of diaspora does not only reside in their university course. It is this time to carry out a project in Armenia dedicated to young various diasporas. To those who accuse the AGBU not finance projects located in Armenia, I remind you that this is an investment to 80% in the diaspora as a whole. And the only way to link all elements of the diaspora is in Armenia. I do not see a better meeting point, without any demagoguery. And for me, the language should not be a barrier.

NAM: In what spirit did you devise your plans?

AA: It is a totally open on Armenia and the city. This site will be visible both day and night. We wanted an architectur e of both contemporary and Armenian. I think that we should perhaps not always built in a style néopasséiste because it is in Armenia. The complex is located in a contemporary architecture with reminiscences of the Armenian symbolic. Thus, one of the many courtyards, a chapel emerge glass. We hope that our project is exemplary. Of course it will be the anti-seismic standards and will be as flexible as possible so that they can evolve over time. The outward appearance of this base will consist of windows. Today's technology allows us to avoid the problems caused by large temperature variations experienced Yerevan.

NAM: How is this complex structured?

AA: As it is on a hill, the slope of 10% allows us to have two levels of ground floor. In fact, all the functionality will be located on the double base with over three buildings reserved for the accommodation of students and teachers. In keeping with the spirit of the City University of Paris, we organized into three groups of buildings: the United States, Europe and Russia, rather than by desire to partition the diaspora because we want to complete a mix, but rather to attract any grants. They are extremely simple structures for which we use a rock to which Armenia will not be tuff or basalt. Accommodation will be held in single or double, of course, totally accessible for the disabled. Without falling into the luxury, we want to give the best young


NAM: The university will it host symposiums?

AA: Of course, as well as exhibitions. At the ground floor are superior reception rooms, exhibition, 3 types of restaurants, not to mention an international centre of failures as well as the headquarters of the virtual university underway which will be announced in the near future. At the lower deck, we allocated the classrooms, language labs, a library, sports facilities and a meeting room that can accommodate 500 people. Our goal is to create a functional, user-friendly, without seeking the monumental nor ostentatious.

NAM: What is the cost of such a project?

AA: Costs are being developed. The difficulty is that most of the supplies coming from outside. During the past ten years, Armenia has made a colossal effort, we built a high quality, but unfortunately all that is innovative, finishing work, comes from outside. But things are changing, I know that there is now a unit of glassmaking in Armenia.

NAM: Is this your first project in Armenia?

AA: Absolutely. Building in Armenia was my dream. Our ambition at the architectural level is to give a boost to modernity and sustainable development. The latter concept has not yet penetrated the Armenia because it had other priorities, but our goal is to achieve a harmonious development. We can not escape this change. We are not here to give lessons because even in Europe the concept of sustainable development is re latively recent. We simply want to show by this example that another type of construction is possible. Over the AGBU focus ambitious plans and we will have more successful teams to be interested.