Maneh Tahmasian

Maneh Tahmasian

Glendale, CA, US


Through Thick and Thin

On September 27th/ 2020, in the middle of the pandemic, Azerbaijan’s military launched an unprovoked attack on Artsakh and Armenia. Armenia, a nation of barely 3 million, was fighting a war to protect their ancestral land of Artsakh against Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Syrian and Pakistani mercenaries. With the notion of destroying and rebuilding, “Through thick and thin” is looking at the spatial aspect of the dome as a historical and cultural element of Armenian architecture. It does not describe the dome as it is, or have been understood, but as it could be reconstituting the matter into something: more; powerful. This project focuses explicitly on dimensions like a hybrid, compromising, distorted, expressive, emotional, complex,  and political.

The site for this thesis is in the town of Shushi, the Republic of Artsakh now under the control of Azerbaijan. The cathedral was bombed during the Nagorno-Karabakh War and has become a place of conflict and destruction. This thesis goal is to create a unique and impactful experience of discovering the old from the new for everyone who visits the site. It is a new architecture used as a tool to reconstitute, protect and expose the history within the city.

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Status: Competition Entry
Location: Shushi, AZ
My Role: Designer
Additional Credits: I was very fortunate and honored to work with a very understanding and talented adviser, Ryan Tyler Martinez, who not only enthusiastically supported my passion for Armenian history and architecture and encouraged me to develop and improve my ideas but also helped me raise awareness.