TFA Youngest Team Member is Winner of the RIBA President’s Dissertation Medal
TFA youngest member of the team, Roy Khatchadourian, has won this year’s RIBA President’s Medal with his March Dissertation. Being the first award the RIBA has initiated to reward talent and innovation, it has been running since 1836 and has become one of the most prestigious student awards internationally. This makes Roy’s entry the best after a call for nominations issued to 320 Universities, in 65 countries.
City masterplans don’t usually become emblems of national culture. But in Yerevan, Armenia’s capital city, the image of a seminal 1924 plan by Armenian-Russian architect Alexander Tamanyan has been so widely embraced that it appears on everything from bank notes and murals to the back of restaurant menus.
Roy Khatchadourian’s medal was a reward for his thesis titled “A Juxtaposition of Ideological Expressions: Evaluating the Urban Transformations of Yerevan (Armenia) During 1915-2015”. His dissertation explores the context and drivers for Tamanyan’s masterplan.
“What determines our sense of belonging to a territory? How can an identity be maintained, or created? Yerevan – the crown jewel and capital city of Armenia – has been grappling with these issues in a quest of rediscovering its national pride, after years of political oppression, even genocide,” Roy Khatchadourian said.
Apart from exploration of the specifics of Yerevan, his research touches on themes such as collective memory loss, the manipulation of architecture to express political values, the impact of commercialization and city gentrification.
“What struck me was that Tamanyan’s masterplan came out of nowhere. I became interested in what he was trying to achieve in his design and what were his points of reference in creating the masterplan. This plan dictates the future architectural image of the city. His introduction of a new style in the Opera and Government Buildings became the norm for Armenian architecture,” Roy Khatchadourian said.
For more information about this award and this fascinating research, exploring Yerevan’s urban development please see: