On May 18, 2023, the Promise Armenian Institute at UCLA and the AGBU Armenian Virtual College joined efforts to present the legacy of the Balyans, the family of prominent architects behind the many architectural masterpieces of the Ottoman period, in a webinar titled Balyans: Ottoman Architecture and Balyan Archive. The event was co-sponsored by the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies, the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR), and the Ararat-Eskijian Museum.
For three generations, the Balyan family shaped the architectural style of the Ottoman Empire with their numerous designs and buildings. Their works included palaces, mansions, mosques, churches, schools, and other public buildings located predominantly in Constantinople (present-day Istanbul).
During the webinar, the author of the book Balyans: Ottoman Architecture and Balyan Archive, architect Büke Uras, spoke about the Balyan family’s major influence on Ottoman architecture and presented architectural designs and documents from the family’s archive.
Arsen Yarman, project coordinator and sponsor of the book, also shared his valuable insights with the attendees of the webinar.
The online event was moderated by AGBU AVC Founding President Dr. Yervant Zorian and Director of The Promise Armenian Institute at UCLA Ann Karagozian. During the interactive Q&A session, Uras answered the participants’ many questions about the works, influence, and contribution of the Balyan architecture, as well as future opportunities for accessing the rich Balyan archive.
The recording of the webinar along with other resources provided by the speakers can be accessed on the AVC Learning Zone platform here.