Cascade is Waiting

Cascade is Waiting

Climbing up the stairs of Yerevan Cascade is an interesting and pleasant challenge, the reward of which is the opportunity to admire the beautiful view of the city from the great height. Yet, after the fourth platform of Cascade the white travertine miracle is abruptly interrupted, and a giant black-fenced cavity opens in front of us, which was dug in 2007 with an intention to finally complete Cascade stairway project. The construction of the Cascade was finished and finally equipped by the charity of philanthropist Gerard Cafesjian, who planned to build a museum at the end of the stairway with New-York-based architect David Hotson’s design. The basic works were started. But in the course of the works it turned out that the design several times exceeded the planned budget. The project was cancelled due to the disagreement between the client and the architect. That part of Cascade, which is 78 meters away from the Revived Armenia Monument and covers an area of about 9.8 hectares remains unfinished.

Architect Aslan Mkhitaryan is one of the co-authors of the Cascade complex. He has developed two design ideas for finishing the Cascade construction. The projects were sent to the Prime-Minister of Armenia and the mayor of Yerevan city. In the first project Aslan Mkhitaryan plans to build a universal concert hall named after Charles Aznavour in the central part of Cascade. On the left side of the Cascade, it is planned to build a hotel complex, and on the right side there will be an open-air hall for 3000 people. In the second project instead of the hotel the architect suggests to build a museum (1200 m2), as it was planned by G. Cafesjian, and on the right side there will be an open-air concert hall (for 1500 people) named after Charles Aznavour. According to the design it is planned to have also 1600m2 agora, fountains, café, recreational and leisure places. The museum and the concert hall will be covered with solar panels, which will provide the power supply of the area. The open air escalators will also function, taking people to the monument.

The design and construction works of Cascade complex lasted a long time, and they still are going on. First time it was Alexander Tamanyan, who gave the idea of reconstruction in 1924, and the project entered the implementation phase in 1976, designed by the architects Jim Torosyan, Sargis Gurzadyan and Aslan Mkhitaryan. By the way, the design of Cascade has been changed several times during the construction process. The archive of Yerevanproject Institute maintains Cascade's last project, which the authors finished in 1987-88. According to that project the last - upper area of the Cascade would have been an open-air exhibition, dedicated to Armenian medieval architecture and surrounded with fountains. From the open-air exhibition place the stairs would rise to the platform of the Revived Armenia Monument. Yet the construction works were postponed due to the earthquake in 1988 and collapse of Soviet Union in 1991. The open-air exhibition hall was not built.