Ohannés Gurekian

Costantinople, August 24 1902 - Asolo March 1st, 1984

OhannesOhannés was born in Costantinople on August 24, 1902. He arrived in Italy with his parents in 1907..

He enrolled in Elementary school in Asolo and later in the Middle and High school in the Armenian Moorat- Raphaë College in Venice, a boarding school.

Discouraged by his father to pursue the architectural profession, he enrolled in Engineering at the University of Padua.

In 1920 he contributed to the activities of the Armenian Student Union of (in) Padua and he actively participated in the rallies in honor of the proclamation of the Armenian Republic, which lasted a brief span of one season and was made to fail by international intrigue and English opposition.

In 1921 he spent some time with his family in Frassené Agordino (BL), as a guest of friends. His father Léon was struck by the resemblance of this alpine village with Toz, a mountain community (hamlet) in the mountains overlooking Trabson, where the Gurekian family used to have a summer home. Vacationing in Frassené he continued in the following years and was decisive for his successive life choices.

In 1924 he graduated in civil engineering and in 1926 he specialized in hydraulic engineering, although he never practiced the profession. Immediately after graduation he moved to Turin to work in the Architectural office of Ballatore di Rosanna - to intern as an architect - until his return to Asolo.

In 1929 he left Turin and, after a brief period in Asolo where he collaborated with the Engineer Bolzon, he moved to Frassené Agordino, attracted by the fascination of the "crode" (dolomite rocks) and he practically established (himself) there.

agner e torre armena His passion for the mountains brought him close to the champions of mountain climbing: Attilio Tissi, Giovanni and Alvise Andrich, Domenico Rudatis and, having consolidated their friendship, he frequently became their climbing partner.

On August 25 1929 he performed his first ascent naming "Torre Armena" the part of the group of Mount Agnèr that he was the first to climb.

He is remembered as one of the pioneers of modern Oriental Alps mountain climbing, and the alpine refuge at the base of Mount Agnèr - by him affectionately called "my mountains" - was dedicated to his name.

In 1932 he was named Extraordinary Commissioner of the Agordo Branch of Italian Alpine Club - historically the most important Italian one - and he became its President from 1933 to 1946.

From 1934 to 1946 in addition to his architectural activity, he taught at the Agordo Mining Institute.

In 1936 he married Dina Della Lucia Dies, from Frassené. They had three children: Armen, Mannig, and Haïg.

Lavori OhannesAt the start of WW2 he permanently moved to Asolo. nonetheless he continued through his entire life to be emotionally and professionally connected to the valleys of Agordo

At the end of WW2 he was invited to be part of the Committee for the Reconstruction of the Belluno Province. He identified the building typology for the various areas to reconstruct and he designed the Reconstruction Plan of Caviola that had been burned by nazi and fascist troops in retaliation.

In 1948, driven by the need to be updated after the listlessness of wartime, he enrolled in the Architectural School of the Institut Polytecique of the Losanne University, at a time when the dean was the architect Tchumi. Although he completed the courses (on October 31, 1950) he was unable to graduate because of time pressure from his professional activity.

His professional activity was essentially engaged in public buildings (schools, town halls, etc.) and to industrial ones: he designed and supervised the construction of eight hydroelectric plants, their housing complexes and accessory buildings.

From 1964 on his activity was associated into the firm Studio Gurekian with his sons, initially Armen and later Haïg.

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