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Gagarin Valley Vision by MVRDV in Armenia, New DAR Foundation Armenian Housing, Architecture Design

Gagarin Valley Vision by MVRDV

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Design: MVRDV, The Netherlands

Location: Gagarin Valley, Armenia

Gagarin Valley Vision in Armenia

A base for sustainable agriculture and ecotourism: MVRDV launches vision for self-sufficient valley in Armenia

In the Gagarin Valley, 10,000 plant species will soon flourish alongside innovative facilities and future-proof housing:
Gagarin Valley Vision by MVRDV, ArmeniaGagarin Valley Vision by MVRDV, Armenia

Images © MVRDV

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Rotterdam – On Tuesday, January 11th, in the presence of Armenian government officials, MVRDV unveiled its vision for the Gagarin Valley. MVRDV was commissioned by the Armenian non-profit organisation DAR Foundation for Regional Development and Competitiveness to develop a vision that will make the 34,000-hectare area more sustainable and ecologically diverse. In the Gagarin Valley, 10,000 plant species will soon flourish on as many plots. With the help of innovative facilities and future-proof housing that will add 12,000 new housing units, the valley will become an ideal base for sustainable agriculture and ecotourism and welcome a new generation of residents.

The mosaic of 10,000 existing plots will be preserved and reinforced:
Gagarin Valley Vision by MVRDV, ArmeniaGagarin Valley Vision by MVRDV, Armenia

Armenia’s Gagarin Valley – named after cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin – is located near Lake Sevan, the largest lake in the Caucasus and only 50 kilometres from the capital Yerevan. Surrounded by mountains, roughly 11,000 inhabitants live in several villages spread throughout the valley. The landscape consists of a patchwork of different pieces of land, of which the local community owns about one third.

Existing buildings, some from Soviet times, will be transformed to waste as little building material as possible:
Gagarin Valley Vision by MVRDV, ArmeniaGagarin Valley Vision by MVRDV, Armenia

Commissioned by the DAR Foundation for Regional Development and Competitiveness, MVRDV designed a vision for the area in which the potential of the valley is optimised and various facilities are added. The ambition, which will be realised in consultation with local parties, is to turn the valley into a versatile and future-proof landscape that is suitable for sustainable agriculture on various scales. Gagarin Valley must become a more attractive place to live in, as well as an area for ecotourism and recreation, serving as a destination for people to walk, hike, cycle, and ride horses.

Gagarin Valley Vision by MVRDV, ArmeniaGagarin Valley Vision by MVRDV, Armenia

The first step towards this self-sustaining valley is to embrace the history of the area: the mosaic of 10,000 existing plots will be preserved and reinforced, and the water system in this dry region will be improved by lining the boundaries between them with canals, public paths, and greenery.

Gagarin Valley Armenia agriculture landscapeGagarin Valley Armenia agriculture landscape

This forms the base of the valley masterplan, reducing evaporation while enhancing water buffers and biodiversity. On each plot, different species will be planted. This will not only make the landscape visually more attractive, but will also stimulate economic diversity.

The heart of the valley will be formed by an educational agricultural centre, around which the highest density can be found, with houses stacked to form vertical villages:
Gagarin Valley Vision by MVRDV, ArmeniaGagarin Valley Vision by MVRDV, Armenia

In the valley, existing roads will continue to form the starting point for connecting all the villages. Additional walking and cycling paths are created within existing structures. Water management will be improved tremendously: the restoration and enlargement of the route of the Hrazdan River, in combination with the new canal system, is an important part of the vision, and water reservoirs in the mountains and other water sources can be used to irrigate farmland.

Gagarin Valley Vision by MVRDV, ArmeniaGagarin Valley Vision by MVRDV, Armenia

“The area is named after Yuri Gagarin, who was the first human to orbit the earth; he saw the planet’s vulnerability, a house in need of extra care, as many other astronauts have since stressed. I share that concern: stimulating biodiversity, improving water management and the ecosystem is of great importance for the future of the Gagarin Valley and the world,” says MVRDV founding partner Winy Maas. “The valley can be seen as a series of test fields for the 10,000 species that will soon flourish there, an enrichment that will give the area the appearance of a garden of Eden.”

Gagarin Valley Vision by MVRDV, ArmeniaGagarin Valley Vision by MVRDV, Armenia

The Gagarin Valley has several villages, some featuring buildings from Soviet times. These will be transformed into the new buildings to waste as little building materials as possible. Traditional Armenian farmhouses will form the inspiration for the newly built homes, to which green, vegetated roofs will be added. This new future and the innovative, sustainable housing will make the valley attractive for different target groups and make the area attractive again for young Armenians.

The restoration of the route of the Hrazdan River is an important part of the vision:
Gagarin Valley Vision by MVRDV, ArmeniaGagarin Valley Vision by MVRDV, Armenia

The patchwork of 10,000 different gardens will contain various facilities that will make a stay in the valley even more attractive. The vision proposes a market hall, a commercial centre, a centre for the arts, and a sunken stadium for 4,500 visitors. The heart of the valley will be formed by an educational agricultural centre, around which the highest density can be found, with houses stacked to form vertical villages.

Gagarin Valley Armenia building design by MVRDV ArchitectsGagarin Valley Armenia building design by MVRDV Architects

“We designed a sphere that acts as mini-planet, where the classrooms surround a spherical void and where all the species of the valley and beyond are shown and monitored”, adds Winy Maas. “The sphere will be surrounded by a central park that contains all the species – a scientific arboretum, reflected in the mirroring sphere. Gagarin would have loved it, I think.”if(typeof ez_ad_units != ‘undefined’){ez_ad_units.push([[336,280],’e_architect_com-box-4′,’ezslot_7′,112,’0′,’0′])};if(typeof __ez_fad_position != ‘undefined’){__ez_fad_position(‘div-gpt-ad-e_architect_com-box-4-0’)};

MVRDV unveiled its vision on Tuesday, January 11th, in the presence of Armenian government officials, with a large-scale model

MVRDV’s vision fits in well with Armenia’s ambition: the government wants to provide financial support for sustainable agriculture and has ambitions to revive tourism to the area. By 2026, the country aims to attract some 2.5 million tourists a year, to which the transformed Gagarin Valley will make a significant contribution.

Art Center:
Gagarin Valley Art Center Armenia building design by MVRDVGagarin Valley Art Center Armenia building design by MVRDV

Gagarin Valley Vision by MVRDV – Building Information

Project Name: Gagarin Valley
Location: Gagarin, Armenia
Year: 2022
Client: DAR Foundation for Regional Development and Competitiveness
Size and Programme: 33,828 hectares – Agricultural & eco-tourism masterplan, housing 35,000
residents (11,000 current residents + 24,000 newcomers)

Gagarin Valley Armenia farmingGagarin Valley Armenia farming

Credits
Architect: MVRDV
Founding Partner in charge: Winy Maas
Director: Enno Zuidema
Design Team: Emilie Koch, Chun Hoi Hui, Luisa Correa de Oliveira, Nahid Aghaie Tabrizi, Dirco Kok,
Amrei Gutmann, Tasos Antonopoulos, Hadi Boudouch
Sustainability advisor: Daniel de Witte
Strategy and Development: Elija Kozak
Copyright: MVRDV Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, Nathalie de Vries

Gagarin Valley Armenia building by MVRDV ArchitectsGagarin Valley Armenia building by MVRDV Architects

Partners:
Client team: DAR Foundation for Regional Development and Competitiveness (Arsen Aghajanyan,
Margarita Gevorgyan, Sarhat Petrosyan, Ani Aghajanyan, Aram Gharibyan, Nune Manukyan, Arevik
Abrahamyan, Alvard Avetisyan, Hayk Bianjyan, Vladimir Bianjyan, Seda Grigoryan, Angelika
Tamaryan, Anahit Nahapetyan)
Water management: Deltares (Begona Arellano Jaimerena, Perry de Louw)

Gagarin Valley Armenia agricultural productionGagarin Valley Armenia agricultural production

Economic consultant: CIVITTA Armenia
Terms of reference: Storaket Architectural Studio
Tangible heritage research: Mazaz Expedition Team
Intangible heritage research: Hazarashen Armenian Center for Ethnographic Research
Biodiversity research: Armen Gasparyan, Ivan Gabrielyan, Arthur Alaverdyan, Vasil Ananyan
Hydrological research: Alexander Arakelyan
GIS creation: Artak Piloyan
Model assistants: Varant Yessaye Hadjian, Marat Mayilyan, Ani Avetisyan, Gayane Aramyan, Liparit Atabekyan, Isabella Harutyunyan, Grigor Nalchajyan

Gagarin Valley Armenia building design by MVRDVGagarin Valley Armenia building design by MVRDV

Visualisations: A2 Studio (Rafal Hanski)

MVRDV

Gagarin Valley Vision by MVRDV in Armenia images / information received 120122

Location: Yerevan, Armenia, western Asia

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