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Authors:
David Kaminsky
Adilzhan Psyayev
David and Adilzhan not only explore, but also practice architecture, but it is their fanatical interest in heritage issues, scrupulousness in working with documents and boundless love for Almaty that determined their participation in the project.
In the course of work, we have collected a wide variety of materials from all possible sources, including archives, literature and even deltiology. Thus, we have a complete picture of the history of the cinema and the best possible idea of an appearance of its "crown". The materials were not previously widely available and many of became public for the first time.

It was possible to find only the original version of the "crown".
According to the implemented version, we could find only photos and videos that allow us to restore its overall appearance. The original drawings of the "crown" are not available in the archives of the city. According to Alexandr Korzhempo, they were supposed to be preserved in the Union of Artists, which made it, but the materials were not preserved there
Archival documents were collected in the Central State Archive, including decrees, conclusions, orders, etc. These materials are unique because they allow restoring a chronology of the construction of the cinema, as well as the logic of evolution of its design. The decision on allotment of land on Abay square, dated October 2, 1963, allowed for the first time to set the start date of all works. In addition, the materials mention initial design characteristics of the cinema, for example, 800 seats (in the implemented version - 1,000 seats), as well as the different size of two cinemas (two halls of the same size are implemented).

From decision of the Almaty Executive Committee No. 123, it became known that the decision to assign the name "Arman" to the cinema was made on April 14, 1967. Until that moment, it was as a "cinema on Abay Square".

The passport of the architectural monument "Arman Cinema Building" confirms that the "crown" encircled the roof of the building around the perimeter. The document, in particular, states: "To increase the height of the cinema, metal ornamental grilles were introduced into its composition, completing the building along the perimeter". This passport - proof of the building status - is in the hands of the building owner for the first time.
We received copies of drawings of draft project of the cinema from the Central State Archive of scientific and technical documentation of the Republic of Kazakhstan. They include layout of the site, facade options, floor plans and individual architectural details. They reflect original intent of the architects.

The most striking difference is the original texture of the facade. Here, a plaster is divided into many rectangles, folding in a geometric pattern. In addition, the drawings show two solutions for bas-reliefs on the side facades.
According to early drawings, original installation of the "crown" on the building was not planned. A design similar to it is found in a later drawing showing an arrangement of decorative elements on the facade. On it, the building is crowned with thin stripes, presumably of neon lights. On the side facade, they add up to the inscription "ARMAN CINEMA".
The drawings of architectural elements also include: advertising stand formerly installed in front of the building; original design of the entrance doors; mushroom lamps formerly installed in the cinema courtyard; the "slow core" elements which were fixed above the screens in the halls. In the future, it is possible to restore these elements as well.

Also according to the received drawings, the facade has the early (probably, informal) name of cinema – "Alma-Ata".

Several films were received from the Central State Archive of Film and Photo Documents and Sound Recordings of the Republic of Kazakhstan, in which it is possible to see the "crown". In individual frames, it is shown in detail, allowing you to recognize the picture.
The newsreel "Soviet Kazakhstan "(1968, Kazakhfilm), issue No.26 tells about the establishment of the cinema and, in addition to the facade, the interiors of "Arman" are shown in detail.

The film "Monumental Art of Kazakhstan" (1976, Kazakhfilm, dir. G. Yemelyanov) focuses on the bas-reliefs on the side facades, but also it makes possible to see in detail the sun-cutters installed above them, which were part of the "crown".

Photos were obtained for the first time, on which the building can be viewed in detail from all sides, which gives the widest possible picture of its original form (at the time of shooting in 1991) and allows restoring an image of previously invisible sections of the "crown".

A postcard we scanned in the original resolution together with the reverse side suggests that the site became iconic soon after the completion of construction.

Photos from the little-known book "Town Planning of Kazakhstan" (1973, "Kazakhstan" Publishing House) give an idea of original appearance of the courtyard, including the original mushroom-lamps, as well as a bas-relief on the side facade.

Article "Arman Means a Dream" in the "Evening Alma-Ata" newspaper records a date in a history when the cinema was established - September 6, 1968. Together with newsreels about establishment of "Arman", it allows feeling significance of the event in the life of the city.