Nikoghayos Baev

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Nikoghayos Baev

Nikoghayos Baev (Armenian: Նիկողայոս Բաև; Russian: Никогайос Баев) (1875-1949) - prominent Armenian architect of first half of 20th century, having huge impact on architecture of Baku - current capital of Azerbaijani Republic.


Education and Start of Career

Nikoghayos Gevorg Baev was born in Hashtarkhan (Astrakhan) on September 12, 1875 in family of Armenian merchant Gevorg Akim Baev. He studied in local gymnasium and when studying he also expressed love towards arts, music and painting.

In 1896 graduating from the gymnasium he moved to Peterburg and entered Civil Engineers Institute.

In 1901 he graduated from the Institute with grade of Engineer-Architect with right to plan and construct. As a destination location he chose Baku, which was popular among most of the graduates. He entered Municipal Department as engineer and later moved to Province Government Construction Department, which head was appointed till 1917. He also was a lecturer of Construction Technical School.

List of his works include various types - living houses, theater, hospitals, banks and others.

Baku Northern Savings Bank

One of the building he built is Baku Northern Savings Bank. It is a small two-floor building, but due to its huge hall on second floor and facade delicate design it has monumental view. Its surface has a bit of rectangle shape. Its facade has wide two-floor height columns with two-floor height windows between them. Having a corner position, it has a columned tower on the corner. This building is an example of modern style, which Baev followed all his career, but which has got a number of various reflections and faces in Baev's works.

Baku Opera Theater

In 1910 Mailyan brother planed to built a European style large theater and order Baev to be architect of the project. Baku had no such-scale theater and performances were mainly hold in various other buildings not planned as theaters. One of them was Taghiev Theater, which although had a small balcony and stage, was actually a reconstructed hangar for grain, which was moreover twice burnt in fire. The conditions for the Mailyans' Theater were hard: the area was surrounded from all sides with a number of other buildings, fire service demanded a 10 meter way from every side of the theater to be free. Also the masses of people in the future theater must have free way during evacuation. Anyway Nikoghayos Baev managed to bring the project to success. Mailyans' theater had 1620 visitor seats. The project of the building had a typical style of 18-19 centuries European theaters, although the back wall due to the outside 10m path had not curve, but straight shape. Theater had two tiers, an amphitheater and a pit. The entrance of the building faced Torgovaya street.

In his memories Baev describes the parameters of the theater mentioning that due to its shape "... it provides perfect acoustics...". He also wrote that due to his innovative technology "... the construction cost 5 times cheaper than a regular theater building ...". [1]. The construction was completed in nine months from April 29, 1910 to February 27, 1911.

Baku Hospital

Baku. Nikoghayos Baev, Musa Nagiev and a number of officials during Musa Nagiev hospital foundation

In 1913 a businessman Musa Nagiev planned a 1000-patients hospital on an area of 1,3 hectares and gave the project to Nikoghayos Baev [2]. Baev planned a three building complex, two of which must have 108 length and connected with main Surgery complex. The structure must have provided an interrelated work of the hospital, where all departments are connected to each other. The area inside the complex must have been covered with garden useful for patients to have rest. WW1 start troubled the complex construction and only the Surgeon building was built.

Being a great fan of Modern style, Baev applied to Classicism, which with its classic design must have provided light view of the building - one of main preconditions for a hospital building.

Seashore Basin

Baku citizens needed a place to hide from summer heat and necessity of seashore basins was great. One basin planned by architect M. Botov was already constructed. In 1909 a tender for new basin and 400 rooms building was announced, which brought to no result. In 1911 anyway the project was announced again and it was given to Nikoghayos Baev. The complex must include basins, hotel rooms, rooms for health procedures and leisure, cafes and a luxurious restaurant. The central part of the building had a large hall, which led to women and men rooms and later to sunbath seats and basin and sea. The central part of the complex had two towers each with cafe-balconies.

Opening ceremony of the building was held on June 22, 1914. Local press wrote: "Baku new basin is a unique, beautiful building on the sea. There is no analog of such a beautiful and large complex in whole Europe, except Nice.

WW1 and Soviet Years

Baev planned also a number of living houses, which decorate Baku old city district. His another project of Covered Market was not implemented because WW1 started. He moved to Yesentuki and later to Kislovodsk. According to his memories he built a number of living houses in Kislovodsk, but there is no detailed information on this period of his life.

Here in 1921-1925 he was the Senoir Engineer of Baku Construction and People's Commissariat of Azerbaijani SSR.

In 1929-1930 he was general engineer of "Azerbaijan Village Construction" (AzSelStroy) [3].

Azerbaijan Tram System

After Sovietization of Azerbaijan he was invited to Baku again to work on a project of tram system construction, 25 buildings among which tram park, reconstruction workshop, living and governmental buildings. The work was held in 3 shifts and Baev spent day and night at construction sites.

Russian-Persian Fair

Armenians in Baku. Russian-Persian Fair

In 1925 Soviet government planned a Russian-Persian Fair, and the complex was given to Nikoghayos Baev. He planned a huge complex, a number of buildings around a number of inner small gardens. The gardens were surrounded by lodge arcs. The facade was decorated with Muslim traditional design. The complex opening was an important event in life of Baku.

==Economic growth and oil production brought necessity of connecting Baku with Sabunchi oil towers. Baev was invited to plan the railway system architecture, a number of train stations, depots, small-stations and other objects. The work was very complicated, but completed by Baev wish success.

Baku Station

In 1925 Baku station was too be built in center of Baku and it planned to be a one-side station. The complicated system of trains, waiting halls and administrative offices were built in the complex of Baku station. Architecture of the main building is worth to mention for its dimensional solutions and general rich view, with its minaret-shape tower and arrow-shape large entrance. Together with a number of smaller towers these elements form the rich facade of the building.

Work in Yerevan

In 1927 Nikoghayos Baev was invited to Yerevan and appointed Senior Architect of Construction Department of People's Economy Council. Later he became head of "Armenian State Construction". He was given three projects to built in Yerevan: Old Blsheviks' Club, Summer Theater at former 26 Commissars Park and Trade Unions Theater.

First one was to be built as complex of 800 seats club and living house. But only the club was built and in 1936 converted to Pioneers Palace. The second was moved to Sundukyan Theater Park and built there. And the third project was not built.

In 1930 on both sides of City Park near Lenin Square (curr. Republic Square) he built buildings of Central Bank and Justice Ministry and Central Court. They had similar look, but different layout. He also built a number of living houses in Yerevan.

In 1929 he got 4th prize in All Union tender under title "Standard 2" of a living house (1st and 2nd prizes were not given).

In 1938 he moved to Kiev with a number of innovative ideas and built a number of buildings in Kiev, which price was surprisingly cheap.

Others facts

Other of his constructions were Baku Boulevard, Baku Apartment houses of Sheremetievs and Selimkhanovs.

Baev always presented innovative ideas in his projects, which became widely used in future. In 30s-40s he presented ideas of "a house without a nail", idea of wooden constructions with glue, ideas widely used in 40s.

During years of work in Armenia, he claimed:

"No matter how endless the stone reservoirs are, anyway this resource must be used very thriftily. There are several million cubic meters of useless remains, while they have value. We need to built artificial stone blocks of them".

Other of his quotes is:

In my works I do not ignore traditional architecture at all. But I'm sure it is necessary to retell old traditions considering achievements of new technology, its influence on form and content.

Nikoghayos Baev died in 1946 [4] or 1949 or 1950 [5] in Yerevan [6].


See also


  1. Archive of Baev's relative S. N. Pakhanov
  2. Фауллаев Ш. С. - Градостроительство и Архитектура Азербайджана в XIX - нач. XX века, Л., 1986, стр. 182
  3. Баев Николай Георгиевич - архитектор
  4. Баев Николай Георгиевич
  5. Edmond Tigranyan «Activity of Armenian architects in South Caucasus» - ISBN 99930-0-001-2
  6. Баев Николай Георгиевич - архитектор
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