The Aquatic Flower: A Star-Shaped Abyss in Armenia

Spillway in Kechut Reservoir

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In ancient Greek mythology, Charybdis was a terrible sea monster that would consume entire ships with its whirlpool-like maw. The beast made an appearance in two famous tales: The Odyssey and the story of Jason and the Argonauts.


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Charybdis was meant to inspire fear, but a whirlpool doesn’t have to be nearly as terrifying as the ancient Greeks made it out to be. Just take a look at the spillway in the Kechut Reservoir in Armenia.

From a purely architectural standpoint, this spillway serves a vital purpose for the nearby Kechut Dam. Excess water pours into the spillway whenever the water gets too high, which should prevent the dam from getting damaged by high water levels.

Instead of installing an ominous Charybdis-like pit in the middle of the lake, the architects behind this star-shaped spillway decided to transform the structure into a work of art. The asterisk-shaped spillway is gorgeous — it almost looks like a massive flower has bloomed out in the middle of the lake.

The architects also splurged on a walkway so that viewers can stand above the seemingly bottomless pit and appreciate the one-of-a-kind waterfall. The unique star-like configuration causes the water to shoot toward the center of the hole. Viewers are left with six streams (one stream from each “petal” in the flower shape) intersecting in the exact middle of the spillway.

Kechut Spillway Center

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What I love so much about this project is it shows how a little bit of creativity can go a long way towards beautifying an architectural space. If it weren’t for this spillway, the Kechut Dam would just be another boring dam that nobody has ever heard of. Well, I’m guessing that you never heard of the Kechut Dam before this either, but you get my point. This simple architectural feature has been featured on websites the world over. It may not be as famous as the New Century Global Center, but it’s definitely worth checking out!

You should use this spillway as inspiration for your next architectural project. No, I’m not suggesting that you install a giant pit in the middle of your business or in your backyard — that would just be silly. What I’m trying to say is that any architectural feature can become a work of art if you allow yourself to think outside of the box. Any feature in a living space, even normally mundane features like doors or a sidewalk, can become the focal point for a piece of architecture.

Star Spillway in Armenia

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I’m partial to using water to beautify a living space because everybody loves the sight and sound of flowing water, but ultimately it’s up to you to select the best feature for your building. Will you add cascading waterfalls? Tranquil ponds? A serene garden? Aquariums filled with exotic fish? Whatever strikes your fancy, just be sure to add something to spice up the structure. People care much more about a building’s appearance than its function. Do people admire the Eiffel Tower because it’s a radio tower? Of course not! They adore the Eiffel Tower because it is a breathtaking display of architectural genius!


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