The neo-historical period of modern Armenian architecture began in the 1920s with Alexander Tamanyan, who introduced for the first time the idea of modernisation of medieval traditional architecture. Until the mid-1950s, when the famous Khrushchev decree regarding the notion of redundancy in architecture was issued (decree no. 1871, date 1955), Armenian architecture used a great deal of decorative motifs and ornamentations, yet remained sombre and ascetic in its overall aesthetics.

With the advent of typology-based design and construction industry, Soviet Armenian architects made the abrupt shift from traditional decorative architectural language to rather austere and minimalistic modernist architecture in the 1960s. Bas-reliefs were used during the first two decades of the modernism period (1960s-1970s) as means of diversifying otherwise austere and alien modernist architectural language. In the architecture of a building bas-reliefs were used locally, sometimes asymmetrically in the overall façade composition, very much in the compositional principles of medieval Armenian architecture. Bas-reliefs depicted primarily national symbols, modernized traditional ornaments, or scenes from national legends or history. 


'Aragil՛ Cafe, Yerevan

Rafael Israelyan, 1960

Sardarapat Memorial Complex, Araks

Rafael Israelyan and Ara Harutyunyan, 1968

Bas-Relief, 'Ani' Hotel, Yerevan

Yervand Gojabashyam, 1970

՛Erebuni՛ Museum, Yerevan

Baghdasar Arzumanyan, Shmavon Azatyan, 1968