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Tumo Center for Creative Technologies (Vagarshapat)

Vagarshapat, Armenia
In Progress 2016

Located in the city of Vagarshapat, this is the fourth chapter in the evolution of the Tumo Center for Creative Technologies, an innovative, free-of-charge open digital media learning hub. This Tumo Center follows the 2011 opening of its flagship location in Yerevan (http://www.bernardkhoury.com/project.php?id=250), the AGBU NKR Campus (http://www.bernardkhoury.com/project.php?id=278) and the Gyumri Tumo Center (http://www.bernardkhoury.com/project.php?id=303), all previously developed by Bernard Khoury / DW5.

Similar to the original Tumo, this 2,500-square-meter center’s curriculum encompasses the same four focus areas: animation, video game development, digital media, and web development. The after-school synergistic hub is to be equipped with state-of-the-art digital technology, and staffed by educators and media professionals to help students explore and produce creative content and media applications through real-life projects.

The site is bordered by a school along its southern periphery, a cemetery to its east and a park to its north. Further north lies the Etchmiadzin Cathedral, the mother church of the Armenian Apostolic Church with its surrounding grounds and gardens. Rather than addressing this geographic location with a built mass, our intervention seeks to weave itself into its context by building a relationship with the park and Mother Cathedral. The proposed scheme is a prolongation of the park established as an inclined plane, serving simultaneously as a functional interface as well as a connection to the existing surrounding urban fabric.

Materializing as a faceted topographic intervention emerging and extending from the ground, the center’s exterior shell is made up of a succession of gently sloped plateaus housing programmatic functions such as the exterior auditorium, as well as numerous other belvederes in direct rapport with the northern bordering park and Mother Cathedral beyond. An oversized rupture piercing the stone-clad shell, coupled with a series of other horizontal and diagonal openings create connections and interactions between the exterior activities and the interior below.

On the southern orientation and below the crust of this mass is a vertical façade that engages with the street, simultaneously accommodating a bridge that connects the project to the neighboring school.