Rostom Voskanian’s path was decided upon graduation from Tehran University in 1959. He was handpicked as the fifth recipient of the prestigious state-scholarship to continue his architectural studies in Paris. After four years at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, he returned to Tehran University in 1964 as an assistant professor in the studio of the well-known architect Houshang Seyhoun. Within ten years at the department, he became the chair and directed the school of architecture from 1975 to the closing of the university in 1980.
During this period Voskanian was prolific, with many art exhibitions, architectural commissions, and academic undertakings. On a sabbatical leave at the University of Pennsylvania in 1974, he visited world-renowned architect Louis Kahn’s office, whom he must have met in 1970. Kahn’s humane monumentality, successful mix of traditional materials with concrete, and regionalist designs spoke to Voskanian’s own principles. At the time, he could not have known that the last two decades of his creative life would be spent not too far from Kahn’s masterpiece. Voskanian’s buildings in the ‘60s, including the Armenian Club and the Weekend House in Tehran as well as the Armenian Kindergarten in Tabriz, were early examples of regionalist modernism in Iran. Different local materials were brought together to rethink form and function. Like Kahn, a deep understanding and respect for history, distinguished Voskanian from other modernists, who took time away from building to preserve historical monuments. The renovation of Saint Thaddeus monastery and the documentation of Saint Sarkis church were seminal expressions of his commitment to history.
1- Holy Cross Chapel