The monolithic Armenian American Museum (AAM) in Glendale, California, is officially a step closer to reality after the Glendale City Council voted to approve the current design on April 17. The nearly 60,000-square-foot museum, massed as a dramatic cube that upturns above the building’s entrances, was designed by Glendale’s Alajajian Marcoosi Architects (AMA). The heavily engraved facade simultaneously references both Mount Ararat as well as the Verdugo Mountains surrounding the city of Glendale. It’s a fitting touch, as the museum itself will hold exhibitions and historical research into the Armenian American experience, and because Glendale holds the greatest number of Armenian residents in the U.S. The City Council’s approval paves the way for formalizing the construction of the $30 million museum. As LA Weekly reports, a 55-year, one-dollar-a-year lease is being finalized so that the museum can build on the southwest corner of Central Park Paseo, which is currently undergoing an overhaul by the international SWA Group that will ultimately increase the amount of available green space. The AAM will have the option to renew its lease up to four times in ten-year increments. The back of the AAM’s three-story block will open up to new “Glendale Central Park,” as well as a through-block pedestrian, adult recreation center, central library, and a children’s play zone. The 40,000 to 50,000 square feet lost by the museum will be offset by the conversion of existing parking spaces in Central Park Paseo into parkland. Inside, the museum will strive to build bridges across different immigrant communities by carving out space to hold cultural displays, as well as an international demonstration kitchen. Construction is slated to begin summer 2019, with the AAM’s opening in 2022, presuming that the funding goal can be met. While the state has given the institution a $4 million grant, the rest of the $30 million will be coming from private donations.
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Renderings have been revealed for the forthcoming Armenian American Museum (AAM) in Glendale, California. The proposed 30,000-square-foot complex is designed by Glendale-based Alajajian Marcoosi Architects (AMA), a local architecture firm known for designing classically-inspired apartment and retail complexes. With their distinctive proposal for the AAM, however, AMA has traded in swept cornices for heroic expressionism. The firm’s chiseled design for the square-shaped museum complex hearkens toward the faceted and craggy faces of Mount Aragat in Armenia as well as toward the Verdugo Mountains that frame the city of Glendale, according to a project website. AMA beat out three other architecture firms for the commission, including Yazdani Studio of Cannon Design, Belzberg Architects, and Frederick Fisher and Partners. The museum is designed to host a variety of cultural exhibitions and educational events while also functioning as a research center aimed at cultivating “Armenian American culture, social justice, and pluralism,” the site explains. The City of Glendale is known locally as the heart of Los Angeles’s thriving Armenian community and is home to the largest number of ethnic Armenians outside of Yerevan, Armenia, that country’s capital city. Renderings for the project depict a bouldered cube punctured by entry portals and slivered windows along its principal facades. The complex contains a generous public entrance on Colorado Street—a main thoroughfare—and is set back from the street along this expanse. The building’s raised first floor caps above- and below- grade parking and is accessed via a broad staircase connecting the building’s entry level with the street below. The eastern end of the building contains a rooftop terrace while the center of the structure is capped by a large skylight. Renderings also depict stone and concrete-clad interior surfaces as well as a mix of interior multi-height spaces punctuated by balconies. The backside of the museum is designed to open onto a new central plaza that connects to arterial pedestrian paths. This central plaza—known as Glendale Central Park—is currently being redeveloped by SWA Group with the aim of creating a symbolic gathering space for the city that will connect the city’s Downtown Central Library with the new AAM, an adult recreation center, and a series of parks, play areas, and pedestrianized streets. The new master plan for the district was approved by the City of Glendale last week, paving the way for community outreach to begin for the project. The city-led project is expected to receive final approval in April 2018. A final construction timeline has not been announced.
Four teams have been shortlisted to compete for the design of the Armenian American Museum in Glendale, California. Commemorating the contributions of Armenian-Americans and "sharing the Armenian experience," the 30,000-square-foot building will include exhibition space, an auditorium, library, classrooms, and support spaces. The announcement came on the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The teams, chosen by the Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee (AGCC) of the Western US, include Yazdani Studio of Cannon Design, Belzberg Architects, Frederick Fisher and Partners, and Alajajian-Marcoosi Architects. The museum is in negotiations with the city of Glendale to secure a 1.7 acre property for the institution just south of the Glendale Civic Auditorium, at 1305 North Verdugo Rd. Lord Cultural Resources (who consulted on the 9/11 Memorial Museum) are helping develop the master plan for the museum site. Conceptual plans are due in mid-May, and the winning team will be chosen this June, said Berdj Karapetian, chairman of the AGCC's Landmark Sub-Committee. Karapetian said that after a feasibility study is completed the museum will begin raising money for the building, which he estimates could cost roughly $30 million to construct.