Built in the Soviet era in 1926 and severely damaged by a major earthquake in 1988, the only remains of the Sevyan Cultural Center still standing were its neoclassical facades. In 2018, the Ballet 2021 Foundation proposed its rehabilitation under a new name and vision, the Kharatian Performing Arts Center.
A primary objective of the project is to strengthen Armenia’s cultural dialogue with the global art scene by providing Gyumri, its cultural capital, with a lively place that welcomes the world through an innovative and multidisciplinary school. It intends to make the site a node of physical connection that bridges separate points of the urban fabric but also of social connection between people, across borders and cultures.
To maintain a link between the old and the new, a parametrically designed geometric volume is inserted inside the preserved stone facade. The largest, an ovoid in shape, houses a state-of-the-art performance hall for 500 people.
The upper floors have been restored and fitted out as studios, research laboratories, library, café, conference and exhibition rooms.
The historic entrance is maintained and enhanced by a stone parvis, which links the center and its community. The adjoining gardens have been redesigned to allow passersby to catch a glimpse of the vibrant creativity from the outside.