Between 1932 and 1965 during Soviet rule, a picturesque retreat for the Writers’ Union of Armenia was built on the sprawling shore of Lake Sevan outside the nearby capital of Yerevan. The two buildings that form the Sevan Writers’ Resort—the guest house (1932-1935) and the lounge (1963-1965) were designed with strikingly divergent aesthetics, but share the same architect. The markedly different stylistic choices are the result of Armenia’s close, but often fraught relationship with the Soviet Union.
The Guesthouse of the Armenian Writer's Union designed by Gevorg Kochar (1901–1973) and Mikael Mazmanyan (1899–1971), is a model of early Soviet avant-garde ideals, utilizing abstract forms to represent social utopianism and creating a functional, progressive and egalitarian space that exemplified the ideals of the revolution. Two years after the completion of the guest house, the architects fell victim to the Stalinist regime; they were arrested and exiled to Siberia for 15 years. Rehabilitated after Stalin’s death, Kochar was commissioned to add the lounge and reconstruct the guest house in 1963. Emulating the international style, the new building complemented the guest house and harmonized the ensemble with the natural landscape, incorporating the view of medieval monastic churches located at the end of the peninsula. To this day, the site continues to be used by Armenian authors for rest and contemplation.
Getty Foundation has chosen Armenian Writer’s Union Sevan guesthouse as a heritage of Soviet modernism and will support the scientific analysis of the building providing $130,000 in 2016. The restoration project will last 3-4 years, but the funding will cover only the 1st stage of the development of scientific research and conservation plan. Considering the outcomes of the 1st stage, the development of the project implementation will be clear.