Armenian Wedding

This proposal was for implementing a religious space into the Bare Island headland.  Using both landscape design and architecture to merge to create a new spatial innovation. Does the traditional architectural typology of an Armenian church have to be an isolated iconic building? We tested these questions through the lens of this landscape project, integrating a built church and wedding space into the headland. 

This is a poem written for this space, articulating something spatial into words:

I am elevated. A new stage in life. The grey crusty slabs celebrate the life of the integrated pre-existing rock. Payt’yel Miats’yal.
Armenian wedding; an orchestration of music, food, traditions. Separated programmatically among these levels.
United as my foot engages with the rusty steps.

I want to know what it’s like to be at an Armenian wedding. I become visually engaged with these floating red handrails.
‘The exploding grey slabs protrude over my head as I enter this controlled path of separation. I can only hear the laughter, the music.
I feel the gaze becoming more prominent, as the panopticon relationship becomes existent.

Magical stairs appear out of the ancient wall as we step into the Orthodox Church. The sun that casts on my face slowly creeps over the island. The sandstone floor is fragmented into a geometric assemblage; family and friends now permeate this surface; evolving bodies gather, as we finally unite.

Water pounds at my face, rebounds off the wall, wind knocks me back. The haunting sound of the church bells and echo of the choir, piecers at my ear. The gap between myself and the existing life becomes physically greater, until I have reached the end.

Location: Bare Island, Sydney, Australia

Client: UTS Research

Year: 2015

Status: Conceptual Phase

Program: Performance Space, Public Space, Religious Space, Chapel, Wedding & Reception Space

Team: Beau Avedissian (lead designer); Johnny Derwent & Rhys Williams (consultants)