A few weeks ago, we wrote a Facebook post about TUMO CEO Marie Lou Papazian’s business trip to Kapan, the capital of Syunik province in Armenia. Within a few hours of posting it, we received an email from former TUMO student Inessa Karamyan — although, there’s no such thing as a former TUMO student ?— explaining how much she’d love to see a TUMO center there. In fact, Inessa had already put considerable thought into the idea. She designed a building for TUMO Kapan as her undergraduate capstone project in architecture. Of course, we couldn’t pass up the chance to invite her in and see the plans!
“When I chose TUMO as the theme of my capstone, I ruled out Yerevan immediately and considered going back to my own roots in Syunik province. But after doing some research, I learned about the needs and opportunities in Kapan. That’s when I realized TUMO Kapan made the most sense and designing it has become a dream of mine,” said Inessa.
The young architect reflected on her time as a TUMO student — not only what she gained from the educational program, but also how it informed her capstone project.
“I drew on my 3 years at TUMO a lot for the design of that project. I understood how TUMO is laid out, the flow of students through the space and its emergency infrastructure, among other things,” explained Inessa. “Some of my classmates also chose to create a TUMO-themed design and they always came to me for insight.”
The fortuitousness of our meeting — spurred by a Facebook post and an email — didn’t escape either of us.
“I was thrilled to see that post and learn that TUMO is interested in expanding to Kapan. That’s why I had to reach out to express my support and share my ideas,” explained Inessa, who never thought that her hopes for TUMO Kapan would gain traction so soon after defending a center design for her diploma. “TUMO is associated with sustainable development and I can’t wait see more centers open throughout Armenia and specifically in Kapan.”
After working as an architect, Inessa increasingly felt pulled in the direction of her favorite hobby — graphic design. So much so, that she decided to pursue it professionally. She currently works as a graphic designer for one the largest companies in Armenia.
“I was 14 years old when I started TUMO in 2011. One of the learning targets that I chose to explore was graphic design. Since then, I’ve fallen in love with the field. Right now, I’m trying to figure out what I love more — design or architecture. I think it might be design,” she admitted.
After wrapping up our conversation, we got up from the wooden bleachers in TUMO Yerevan and carefully collected images of her capstone project from the floor where they had been arranged for the photoshoot. We said our goodbyes, hoping that the next time we meet, it will be at TUMO Kapan.