Commissioned by the Armenian non-profit organization DAR Foundation for Regional Development and Competibility, Dutch architects from the MVRDV company presented an architectural project for the Gagarin Valley, which will completely change the area of 34,000 hectares. The MVRDV company has developed a concept of the territory in which the potential of the valley is being optimized, new objects will be added. The goal of the project is to turn the valley into a versatile and future-oriented landscape suitable for agricultural development, in addition, the valley should become a more attractive place to live, as well as a place for ecotourism and recreation, a place for walking, hiking, cycling and horses.
The Gagarin Valley in Armenia, named after the first cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, is located near Lake Sevan, just 50 kilometers from the capital Yerevan. Surrounded by small mountains, where about 11,000 inhabitants live.
In the Gagarin Valley, it is planned to plant 10,000 plant species in the same number of plots.
Additional walking and cycling paths will be created. Water management will be significantly improved: the restoration and expansion of the Hrazdan River, combined with a new canal system, is an important part of the vision, and mountain reservoirs and other water sources can be used for irrigation.
“The area is named after Yuri Gagarin, the first man to orbit the Earth; he saw the vulnerability of the planet, a home in need of special care, as many other astronauts have since emphasized. I share this concern: stimulating biodiversity, improving water resources and ecosystem management is of great importance for the future of the Gagarin Valley and the whole world,” says Winy Maas, founding partner of MVRDV. “The valley can be seen as a series of test fields for the 10,000 species of plants that will soon be growing there, giving the area the appearance of a Garden of Eden.” This is a new innovative future that will make the valley an attractive place to live for young Armenians.
“We designed a sphere that acts like a mini-planet,” adds Winy Maas. “The sphere will be surrounded by a central park where all species are collected – a scientific arboretum, reflected in a mirror sphere. I think Gagarin would have liked it.”
A patchwork of 10,000 different gardens will contain various facilities that will make your stay in the valley even more attractive. Vision offers a mall, an arts center and a sunken stadium for 4,500 visitors. The heart of the valley will be formed by an educational agricultural center around which the highest density can be found, with houses stacked in vertical villages.
MVRDV’s vision aligns well with Armenia’s ambitions: the government wants to provide financial support for sustainable agriculture and revive tourism in the area. By 2026, the country intends to attract about 2.5 million tourists a year, to which the transformed Gagarin Valley will make a significant contribution.
We managed to get acquainted with the Gagarin project in our autumn tour for students and teachers of the Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA).
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