Revitalizing a Black Tuff Beauty at 44 Aram Street

Standing at the intersection of Aram and Teryan streets in Yerevan, at 44 Aram Street, is an early 20th century landmark. This beautiful building, built in 1910 out of local black tuff stone, was originally named “Fadey Thadevosyan House” after its first owner, a wealthy entrepreneur in the business of flour distribution. At that time, it had two floors, and a third floor was added in the 1930s to serve as additional living quarters.

black tuff building - Revitalizing a Black Tuff Beauty at 44 Aram Street
1930s photo of building

Throughout the years, the building has seen a number of interesting proprietors and served different cultural purposes. One of its functions was as a music studio, owned and operated by composer Romanos Melikyan. It is this studio, a hub for musical innovation in 1920s Yerevan, that turned the building into the first home for the Komitas State Conservatory of Yerevan in 1923. Composers such as Romanos Melikyan himself, Alexander Spendiaryan, Konstantin Saradzhev, and many others worked and taught at 44 Aram Street until 1948. Since then, the building has served as a branch of the Armenian State Pedagogical Institute, and its most recent occupant, the Yerevan Institute of Philosophy, Sociology, and Law, which had been located there since 1969, recently moved its offices to the National Academy of Sciences building.

And now, it’s the turn of the TUMO Studios to continue the tradition of education and cultural production at 44 Arami Street, soon to be its new location. TUMO Studios is a non-profit educational program implemented by the TUMO Center for Creative Technologies with the generous support of the John and Hasmik Mgrdichian Foundation. Its mission is to empower the next generation of Armenian designers and artisans with a commitment to revitalize local craft traditions and raise the quality of locally produced design goods.

In the six years since its inception, TUMO Studios has operated on the second floor of another historic building at 38 Pushkin Street, where it has provided technical courses and product design workshops to over 750 young professionals. This has resulted in a large and growing collection of student-designed ceramics, embroidery, prints, fashion, accessories, wood and carving products, and even culinary works and perfumes.

But the center is running out of space. Currently, over 600 young people have applied for 165 learning spots at TUMO Studios, its shop can no longer hold student productions that are in high demand, and its growing operations have outgrown the existing workshop spaces. The addition of the new location will more than quadruple its facilities, addressing all of these challenges.

TUMO is restoring the 44 Arami Street building with minimal interventions designed to maintain intact all the original architecture of the building. The new TUMO Studios location will open its doors to the public in April of 2024. In addition to its regular educational program,this new location will also host lectures and other events around design, arts and crafts. 44 Arami Street will help realize the vision of TUMO Studios, allowing more young Armenians to master Armenian artisanal traditions, and enabling a new generation of designers and craftspeople to create the future of Armenian design.

studios craft - Revitalizing a Black Tuff Beauty at 44 Aram Street