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Aleksander Tamanian (1878-1936) planned to raise a core cultural building, the People’s House, in the center of Yerevan. He wanted to create it in the form of a temple, which would mark the spot where in ancient times allegedly stood a pagan templeofsong.TheprojectandconstructionofthePeople’sHousefacedmanyattacks from the proletarian architects who followed constructivist architectural ideas and were presenting, using V. Paperny’s terminology, the revolutionary and egalitarian CultureOne.In early 1930s,a newstyle ofStalineraarchitecture,representingCulture Two, replaced Culture One. In the 1934 project version, Tamanian’s People’s House Corresponding Author: Levon Abrahamian was inﬂuenced by this hierarchical and vertical worldview. However, after the death firstname.lastname@example.org of the architect in 1936, his son continued his father’s grand construction, depriving Received: 26 April 2018 it of Stalin era architecture characteristics. His further edition of father’s project gave Accepted: 25 May 2018 the city the core building of the Opera and Ballet Theater, the most telling sample of Published: 7 June 2018 Tamanian’sCultureTwo,whichdiffersandactuallyprecedestheStalineraCultureTwo. Publishingservicesprovidedby KnowledgeE Keywords: Aleksander Tamanian, People’s House, Culture One, Culture Two, Stalin Levon Abrahamian. This era architecture article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use and 1.Introduction redistribution provided that the original author and source are Sometimes the architect like a demiurge strives to create exceedingly comfortable credited. buildings or even entire cities. However often his successors, editors and even those Selection and Peer-review for whom these constructions were intended transform them into something less under the responsibility of the ISPS Convention 2017 utopian than the original project was proposing. This happened with Yerevan, which Conference Committee. Aleksander Tamanian planned as a small harmonic garden-city with а hundred and ﬁfty thousand population, which turned into an urbanistic monster with population exceeding one million by the end of 1980s, which swallowed the tiny accurate city imagined by Tamanian. In other cases, however, the ideas of the architect, that were distorted by the builders and the subsequent generations, suddenly come to life and the role that the Howtocitethisarticle: LevonAbrahamian,(2018),“Tamanyan’sYerevanBetweenConstructivismandStalinEraArchitecture”inConvention2017 Page 231 “Modernization and Multiple Modernities”, KnE Social Sciences, pages 231–241. DOI 10.18502/kss.v3i7.2477 ISPS Convention 2017 architect originally intended for those buildings plays out in a completely different way. This was the case with one of the most signiﬁcant works realized by Aleksander Tamanian – The Opera and Ballet Theater. We will demonstrate the transformations of Aleksander Tamanian’s Yerevan on the case study of this construction – we will trace backthearchitect’soriginalideaofthisbuilding,discussthedifﬁcultiesandtempations it overcame, and the editor’s role in its ﬁnal transformation. 1.1.Methods TounderstandTamanian’screativeenigmawewillusetheconceptsofCultureOneand Culture Two proposed by Vladimir Paperny (2006). Culture One, which was typical for 1920s, reﬂects the revolutionary trend of egalitarianism and equality. A distinctive of thisCultureisalsotherevolutionaryprincipleofrefutingthepast.Thesetwomainprin- ciples determine architectural manifestations of Culture One: expansion (spreading), horizontalityandegalitarism.EgalitarianCultureOneintheearly1930swassubstituted by the hierarchic Culture Two. This does not imply that the egalitarian ideology of the previous period was revisited, after all the communist future was based on that very principle. Simply the ideal of Culture One was postponed to an indeﬁnite future (, 146).Meanwhile,incontrastwithCultureOne,withitshorizontality,symetricity,ability to spread and overall mobility, Culture Two manifests as vertical, hierarchic, rigid and static(,141-42).IfCultureOneisorientedonlytowardsthefuture,CultureTwocasts a glance also into the past. 2.People’sHouseofAleksanderTamanian: CaseStudyandDiscussion 2.1.Templeofsong,people’shouse,and forgesofproletarianculture The Opera and Ballet Theater is indeed one of Tamanian’s most enigmatic buildings. It reﬂectstheperceptionsofthearchitectofthemysticconnectionbetweenspaceandits historicalandculturalroots.Tamanianwasconvincedthatinthesitewherehewanted to realize his colossal idea, in the very place where at that time was the Gethsemane Chapel, two thousand years ago stood a pagan temple of song. He shared this belief with the painter Martiros Saryan when he just started the realization of construction of the People’s House – the future Opera and Ballet Theater (, 270-271, note 76). DOI 10.18502/kss.v3i7.2477 Page 232 ISPS Convention 2017 It remains unclear where the architect’s conviction comes from. In any case, until now there is no reliable evidence to support that idea (, 16). It is surprising, that in 1930 when the foundation of the building was being dug Tamanian did not even attempt to verify his theory by conducting archaeological research, given also that at that time (1923-1933) he was the head of the State Committee for the Preservation of 𝑠𝑡 𝑛𝑑 Antiquities. Only one accidental ﬁnding traced back to the 1 or 2 century A.D. was studied. As for a systematic study of that territory it was hardly the case, considering that in order to facilitate earth works Tamanian even resorted to implosions (, № 379). Tamanian’s conviction must have been so profound that he demolished the above- 𝑡ℎ mentioned Gethsemane Chapel that dated back to the 12-13 centuries. It is true that after the devastating earthquake of 1679 the reconstructed Chapel was very modest, butitseemsthatTamanianwasnotdriveneitherbyaestheticoranti-religiousmotives. At ﬁrst sight, it indeed seems that the church destruction activities of Tamanian were conditionedbytheoverallanti-religiousSovietcampaign.However,basedonhisover- all approach to religious buildings on the territory of Yerevan, it can be stated that he wasnotatallfavouringthedemolitionofchurches(unlessofcoursetheyhinderedhis visionofYerevan).AswiththeGethsemaneChapel,noarchaeologicalresearchorcon- trolwasinplacealsoduringthe1931demolitionofSt.PaulandPeterChurchthatwasin theplaceofthepresentday“Moscow”cinema,despitethericharchaeologicalmaterial that was coming out from under the St. Paul and Peter Church, which archaeologist Ashkharhbek Kalantar rightfully considered remnants of an early, probably Urartian temple and which were carelessly destroyed . Tamanian’s “indifference” to the speciﬁc past period, perhaps, reﬂected his prefer- ence of stylized retrospective view on imaginary past to the reconstruction based on a detailed archaeological and architectural study of the past. His goal was to build the new Soviet temple of song and dance in accordance with the imagined prototype of the pagan temple and on the same spot. OnemayassumethatTamanianpreferredpaganarchitectureandrealiatotheChris- tianones,buthewascriticizedjustforrealizingchurchconstructioninsteadofthecivil one. Incidentally, there is a number of rather explicit details and structural similarities 𝑡ℎ betweentheOperabuildingandtheZvartnotstemple(7 century).However,weshall return to this discussion below. To have a better understanding and overall to grasp the essence of Tamanian’s work and legacy, both the architect and his work should be viewed in the larger SovietandSovietArmeniancontext.TamaniansawhisOperaandBalletTheaterinthe DOI 10.18502/kss.v3i7.2477 Page 233 ISPS Convention 2017 image of a People’s House, the name of which already reveals architect’s perception of the new “temple”. It is not by accident, that the opponents of the project – younger architects,mainlycriticizedhimfortheword“people’s”inthetitle.“Theterm“People’s House”itselfinthetimeofthedictatorshipoftheproletariatsoundsasanastounding anachronism, which is automatically transferred from the old days into our times. Loyal to the commandments of the past, the project of academician Tamanov [the Russianversionofthe lastname Tamanian]neitherbyits objective,norbyitscontent differs from those houses, that under the name of “People’s houses” were being built in Tsarist times in different cities for the light entertainment of petty bourgeoisie (ofﬁcers, artisans, elite workers). If there is difference, then only in the sense that the Yerevan People’s House excels its predecessors in its external pretentiousness that by its type is closer to palaces. The plan of the “People’s House” envisages only the existence of theater and concert halls and a museum, in other words, venues where the workers’ role will be limited to the passive observing role of an audience”. This is an excerpt from an open letter entitled “Instead of the “People’s House” let us build a forge of proletarian culture”, that in late 1920s was written and signed by members of the Proletarian Union of Architects that later were to become renowned architects Karo Halabian, Gevorg Kochar, Mikayel Mazmanian, Samvel Safarian and others (Novoye Vremya, 24 March 2016). Proletarian architects interpreted the term “people’s” as “workers’ ” in the proletarian context. Whereas Tamanian’s intention for the House of the People was much wider: for the “people” without class differentia- tion. The People’s House was to consist of two parts: the winter part (closed) and the summer part (open), that were to have a common stage and would come together or separate from each other with a partition – a rising iron curtain (, № 360.10, № 361.1).Performancesofchambertype(opera,balletetc.)weresupposedtotakeplace in the closed venue, which is the current Opera and Ballet hall, whereas during mass festivals the iron partition would be raised (one of the constructive remnants of the curtainisthenotablyvoluminousandhighupperpartofthecurrentbuilding),andthe two spaces would join (there was also a plan for a mobile parterre and other unusual solutions, which, however, this time were criticised by the higher authorities out of constructive and ﬁnancial considerations). Although Tamanian had the intention of buildingvariousbuildingsforcultural-educationalpurposesaroundthePeople’sHouse, he was preparing the center of this area predominantly for a nationwide festival. Proletarian architects’ criticism of the People’s House is important not only in order to understand the ideological situation in which Yerevan imagined by Tamanian was coming to life, but also, because the text of the criticism reveals a number of very DOI 10.18502/kss.v3i7.2477 Page 234 ISPS Convention 2017 signiﬁcantrealitiesthatwerecharacteristicofthosetimes,withoutwhichitwouldhave been indeed very hard to understand the creativity of Tamanian and the building and thesquarethathecreated.Itischaracteristic,thattheopponentsjuxtaposedthepop- ular/people’sfestivalwiththeeverydaylifeofthepeople(theproletarians).According tothemTamanian’sintentionwastobuildapalace-likeanachronisticbuildingfromthe Tsaristpast,while“currentlyallacrosstheUnionforgesofproletarianculturearebeing built”, where the builders of socialism will be forged. Hence, the proletarian architects urgednottoallowtheconstructionofthe“People’sHouse”accordingtothedesignof Tamanian. Instead, it was proposed to build “cultural centers that would organize the everyday socialist life of the new man”. For the moment living aside the architectural disagreements and criticism expressed in the letter, that were directed against the eclectic and national stylistic solutions of the People’s House, it is worth outlining one accusation, according to which Tamanian’s People’s House comes from the past, whereas the forges of culture of the proletarian architects are directed towards the future. The orientation towards the future of the proletarian architects is conditioned by their revolutionary stance, which does not recognize the past, intends to eliminate itinordertobuildthefuture.Itisnoaccident,thatinartisticcirclessucharevolutionary approach was especially close to the futurists, which is evident from their future- oriented tittle. It is not surprising, that some of the opposing proletarian architects, among which M. Mazmanian and K. Halabyan were adherents of the futuristic school (, ch. 10). The creative activities of proletarian architects were obviously unfolding within Vladimir Paperny’s Culture One , when the “forges of proletarian culture” men- tioned in the letter were indeed being built all across the Soviet Union in the post- revolutionary 1920s. 2.2.Tamanian’sculturetwo Virtually, as we have mentioned, the proletarian architects opposing Tamanian were representingthecommonearly-Sovietculture–CultureOne.Theirprotestwasagainst Tamanian’sPeople’sHouseasanattemptatrecreatingthedeniedpast.Butintheearly 1930s egalitarian Culture One was substituted by the hierarchic Culture Two, which, in contrast with Culture One, manifests as vertical, hierarchic, rigid and static (, 141- 142). While Culture One was oriented only towards the future, Culture Two casts a glance into the past . DOI 10.18502/kss.v3i7.2477 Page 235 ISPS Convention 2017 The victory of this new ideological and aesthetic trend over its predecessor is expresslymanifestinthespectreof160designsfortheMoscowPalaceoftheSoviets about the construction of which was announced in 1931 (, Book 2, ch. 4.5), as well as in the winning project of B. Iofan. Later, V. Shchuko and V. Gelfreikh were assigned to join him to develop the ﬁnal (although still draft) project, which was presented in 1934. It envisaged a monumental stair stepped (zikkurat type) 420 meter high building crowned by a 100 meter statue of Lenin. The Palace of the Soviets was built 𝑡ℎ on the site of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour dating back to the 19 century and was demolished in the early 1930s. Construction of the palace was thus percieved also as an ideological (and real-material) victory over religion that remained from the Tsarist times (compare to the completely different context of the demolishion of the Gethsemane Chapel). That is to say, the retrospective glance of Culture Two was not directed towards the recent past: its chronological directionality is expressed through the reality that many of the projects submitted for the competition, including the winning project, in one way or another were reproducing colossal buildings of great powers of the past. It could be said that the competition was like a parade of imperial buildings, and not of Russian but of international historical origin – let us recall the zikkuratian characteristics of the winning project. The construction started in the late thirties, however because of World War II and the post war devastation the project was stopped. There are also other rational and irationalinterpretationsofwhytheconstructionofthebuildingwasstopped(,125). In any case, in 1960s the construction site was transformed into a swimming pool, and the giagantic palace into Stalinist skyscrapers built in different parts of Moscow. According to the felicitous charachterisation of Paperny, the Palace of the Soviets that was to be built in the center of the world ﬁrst collapsed turning into a ring of tall buildings,andspreadoutsideRussiaandeventheSovietUnion(Warsawandelswhere) thus proclaiming a kind of a new “Hellenistic era” (, 135). It would be natural to assume that Soviet Armenia hardly could have avoided part taking in Culture Two. However, interestingly, it was Tamanian’s People’s House that became the venue of expression of that culture. Remember that Tamanian started working on the project of the People’s House in 1926, i.e. before the competition for the projects of the Palace of the Soviets and still during the reign of Culture One. This isthereasonwhyproletarianarchitectswereprotestingagainsthim:theywerewithin theirownculture,“playingontheirownﬁeld”.TheeraofCultureTwowasnotthereyet, and they were ﬁghting not against a representative of the new culture and ideology, but against someone who was recreating the denied past. DOI 10.18502/kss.v3i7.2477 Page 236 ISPS Convention 2017 Therecan be an impression, that Tamanian was ahead of his time raising the issues ofCultureTwowhilestillbeinginCultureOne.Thisisbothtrueandnottrue.Thisisnot truebecauseCultureTwodescribedbyPapernyisidentiﬁedwithStalinistarchitecture, whiletheinitialprojectdrawingsofthePeople’sHousewerenotinanywayconnected to it. Moreover, the horizontal spreading of the building, the absence of hierarchic lodges and egalitarianism in festivals were indicative that Tamanian was closer to Culture One than his opponents. The reason for this, in my opinion, is that, as has already been mentioned, Tamanian was focusing on the festival, which in its spirit is closer to Culture One rather than Culture Two. Although, when the era of the latter arrived, Tamanian, too, was inﬂuenced by Stalinist Culture Two. The ﬁnal version of the People’s House that he concieved and which he completed in partnership with academician Eu. Lanseray is dated 1934. The previous design, that is closer to the current Opera house, was supplemented with vertical juts and crowned by Lenin’s monument. The direct inﬂuence, if not the copying, of the Palace of the Soviets is apparent. With this version Tamanian actually illustrates that the wave of the new “Hellenism” describied by Paperny had already reached Armenia. However, suprisingly, Tamanian was at the same time a precursor of Culture Two in the era of Culture One. Proletarian architects were especially stressing the regres- siveness of Tamanian and accusing him of advocating pre-revolutionary architectural values. Indeed, Tamanian’s clasiscist style stands out even today, and for the revolu- tionaryproletarianarchitectsthisshouldhavebeenpercievedasthereinstatementof the class foe in the egalitarian constructivist future that they were dreaming about. In the creative self of Tamanian has one more important aspect, which made him a precursor of Culture Two. The thing is, that when building future Yerevan, Tamanian waslookingbacknotattherecentpast,astheproletarianarchitectsbelieved,butata farmoredistantpast.ThatwasthereasonwhyhedestroyedtheYerevanofyesterday, Gethemane, without even looking into the historical past of the destroyed buildings, which probably was the era of the alleged temple of song and love. This comes to prove,thathisretrospectiveviewwasaimedattheancientpastthathehadinvented. SuchanapproachwasoneofthedistinctivefeaturesofCultureTwo.IfStalinistCulture Twowasbuildingitstotalitarian,onecanevensay,imperialfuturebybringingtogether elements of past imperial constructs of mankind, Tamanian “compiled” his temple of songanddancefromtheelementsofancientArmenianchurcharchitecture.Thisisnot simplyanotheraccusationoftheopponentsoraﬁndingofresearchers.Whenevaluat- ing the 1929 competition project design, the corresponding Transcaucasus authorities have unequivocally characterized the solution for the facade of the building as old DOI 10.18502/kss.v3i7.2477 Page 237 ISPS Convention 2017 𝑡ℎ 𝑡ℎ Armenian, characterisitc of the style of 5 –8 centuries (, № 349.2, № 358), and these centuries are famous exclusively for church construction. Together with the national architectural style, the ecleticism of the facade solution was also called into question, echoing the accusations of proletarian architects (, № 358). “As for the architectural design, it should be acknowledged, that indeed the author with great diligenceandarcheologicalprecisionrestoredoldpalacearchitecturespicingitupwith churchandfeudal(accordingtotheauthor“national”)andhellenisticvinigrette,mixed up with ampire” (Novoye Vremya, 24 March 2016). That is, Tamanian was introducing a kind of Culture Two, which was not connected with totalitarian worldview. In any case, the project design of 1934 that was adapted to the totalitarian model made almost completely invisible the unique Tamanianian Culture Two. However, beforewediscussthedestinyofthatprojectdesign,itisworthfocusingonyetanother pecularity of Tamanian’s People’s House that made it different from Stalisnist Culture Two. According to all the versions of the People’s House, it should consist of two parts – open and closed, which were supposed to become one during mass festivals. Tama- nian was ensuring the “popular” aspect of the People’s House through the horizontal spreading, and the possibility of joining the open and closed spaces through various moving parts (the rising partition-curtain, moving parterre) that virtually were sup- posed to join the “outside” people with the “inside” people. It is no accident, that therewasanopinion,thatduringbigcelebrationscelebratoryparadesweresupposed to pass through the People’s House greeted and hailed by the audience in the two joined parts. I don’t know if Tamanian indeed expressed this idea given that in the master plan of Yerevan there was another square designated for parades. However, the inventive way Tamanian proposed for the spatial “movements” of the people in that space seemed to be in harmony with the described festive passing through. Imagine, that, as intended by the author, the people were indeed supposed to pass through the building, it would mean that they would enter from the square adjacent to the building, then go on the stage, pass by the stage that would connect the two halls, i.e. for an instant would become the “performer”, through which the opposition of performers – spectators would disappear. This is characteristic of all carnival type festivals, which is brilliantly revealed in the Mikhail Bakhtin’s outstanding study of medieval European carnival . ThevirtualpassingthroughofthepeopleinTamanian’s1920sdesignofthePeople’s HouseechoestherealpassingthroughoftheprojectsofCultureTwoofthebeginning if 1930s. In the initial version of Iofan’s winning design of the Palace of the Soviets of DOI 10.18502/kss.v3i7.2477 Page 238 ISPS Convention 2017 February 1932 (as was the case with other similar projects) it was intended that the festive parade should pass through the main halls of the building: most probably that was a tribute to the trends of the egalitarian revolutionary Culture One. However, a special order that was released later that year put an end to the idea of celebratory passingthrough.Simulteniously,asaresultofconsultationsduringapartyconference, M.Ginzburg who designed the theater that was supposed to be built in Sverdlovsk was obliged not only to abandon the idea of processions and military parades passing throughthebuildingbuttoaddmorelodges.Meanwhile,thetheaterprojectsof1920s did not intend for any lodges at all. According to Paperny, these were signals that Culture One was being pushed out by Culture two (, 123). Hence,itcouldbeconcludedthatTamanian’sPeople’sHouse,thathadnolodgesand was horizontally spread, due to which it became popular and penetrable, in terms of functionality was a vivid illustration of Culture One, while in terms of its exterior was closer to Culture Two. At the same time, the penetrability of the Palace of the Soviets was to be ensured through the entrance of the people – the passing through of the processions and military parades: in case the itinerary of the parades was altered, the building would be freed from the last signs of Culture One. Meanwhile, the People’s House would ensure this penetrability by the structure of the building itself. But let us return to the projects of the People’s House of 1934 and the Palace of the Sovietsthatinspiredit.Thesimilaryetdramaticallydifferentfatesofthesetwocolossal projectsareveryimportantintermsofunderstandingStalinistandTamanianianCulture Twos.Ashasalreadybeenmentioned,afterthewarinMoscowinsteadofonecolossal building a number of skyscrapers were built, that ﬁrst informally and now also almost formally are reffered to as “Stalinist” buildings. The last project of Tamanian also was left unrealized due to similar economic rea- sons: lack of resources, war etc. However in this case, as opposed to the Moscow example, there were also other determining factors, among which the death of the architect in 1936. Construction works of the People’s House commenced in 1930 and the Theater section was built in 1939. However, after the death of the architect, a new phase in the fate of the building started.Thisphaseisatestimonyofthecrucialimportanceofaneditor,evenifweare dealing with creations of great architects. After the death of Tamanian, the building of the Opera and Ballet Theater was completed by his son Gevorg Tamanian in 1953. His editting efforts were primarily conditioned by limited resources. This assumption is backed by the fact that from the different designs for the building he chose his DOI 10.18502/kss.v3i7.2477 Page 239 ISPS Convention 2017 father’s most simple version, without decorative sculptures and, of course, without the expensive solutions of the 1934 design. It should be taken into consideration that the post-war developments connected with the Palace of the Soviets were also realized by the representatives of Culture Two. For example, one of the authors of the building of the Moscow State University was the very same Iofan, that once won the competion for the design of the Palace of the Soviets. Meanwhile, the successor of Tamanian was attempting to get rid of Stalinist Culture Two elements. As a result of the interference of Gevorg Tamanian, the open hall was substituted by the current symmetric section of the philharmonic hall, and the two parts of the building were forever separated by a wall. Thus the building lost the penetrability intended by Tamanian, which in fact was an element coming from Culture One. On the other hand, the editor saved his father’s building from the captivity of Stalinist Culture Two. As a result, we have a unique masterpiece of Tamanianian Culture Two. Fromaconstructiveperspectivetheson’seditingdeprivedhisfather’sbuildingfrom the intended festivity: as has been mentioned, the two parts of the building were no longer connecting to organize mass festivals. Nonetheless, Tamanian’s idea in fact did cometolifeinacompletelydifferentmanner.Thishappenedin1988whentheSquare of the Opera and Ballet Theater became the venue for non-stop mass demonstration, which directly or indirectly were connected politically with the Karabakh issue, but fromanthropologicalperspectivepresentedakindofafestival,whichthearchitect was foreseeing for his People’s House. 3.Conclusion Armenia, being a part of the Soviet space, underwent some general ideological and cultural trends. In 1920s, there was a visible Culture One (following V. Paperny’s ter- minology), with its local speciﬁcities, but general egalitarian ideas presented in archi- tecture by proletarian architects of constructivist orientation. They saw in Tamanian’s coreconstruction,thePeople’sHouse,whichdevelopedlaterintotheOperaandBallet Theater,theeclecticviewtotherecentpast,whichtheywereeagertogetridof.They seemed to be right in their criticism, since Tamanian really dreamed to construct his People’sHouseasanewTempleofMusic,whichwouldreplacetheimagined(andnot reconstructed) ancient (and not recent) pagan temple of song once standing at the samespot.Actuallyhewasusingin1920stheideasofsomespeciﬁcCultureTwo,and not the ones of the Stalin era Culture Two, which appeared only in early 1930s. At the DOI 10.18502/kss.v3i7.2477 Page 240 ISPS Convention 2017 sametime,presentingCultureTwointheverticalimageofhisbuilding,heatthesame timerealizedaspeciﬁchorizontalimage,whichwasclosetotheegalitarianworldview of Culture One, but in its carnival-type festival conext. 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