Daily Picture 15-Nov-09: Bucharest Italianate Villa

DP_15Nov09s

An interesting example of inter-war built Italianate type villa in Aviatorilor Boulevard area of Bucharest; designed by architect Toma T Socolescu (info provided by Radu from http://www.bucurestiinoisivechi.blogspot.com/). There can also be detected some French medieval and Renaissance motifs and structures like the gargoyles flanking the top of the central tower or the left hand side corner tourette. (©Valentin Mandache)

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I endeavor through this daily image series to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural heritage.

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If you plan acquiring a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in locating the property, specialist research, planning permissions, restoration project management, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.

Daily Picture 14-Nov-09: Romantic Era Coat of Arms

c19th coat of arms, Bucharest

Aristocratic coat of arms that belonged to Costache-Boldur family (info provided by Mr. Gabriel Badea Paun) placed within a Renaissance inspired panoply on the roof above the doorway of the family house, dated sometime in the first half of c19th, Regina Maria area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The modern nation building process in the Romanian lands started in the first half the c19th, a time of intense search for roots in the romantic ancient and medieval past. The Danubian Principalities (Wallachia and Moldavia), the core of future Romania, were for more than five centuries part of the Ottoman realm  and the recovery of a nearly forgotten European identity made that national soul searching even more poignant. Many among the upper classes, the aristocrats and merchants (the principalities did not have any industry at that time), began to proudly display through symbols or in crude western style architecture, in a city which in that period boasted mostly provincial Balkan Ottoman architectural styles, their supposed connections with the old grand families of Europe. Most of these were pure fiction, like the much touted supposed connection of the Romanian aristocracy with the medieval Venetian and Genovese nobility that in c13th and c14th set up trading towns in the area along the Danube and the Black Sea shore. Others were keen to emphasize equally dubious connections with the French or German aristocracy. That interesting period left traces in some of the city’s architectural decorations, especially in the coat of arms proudly displayed on roof panoply moldings placed above the doorways of the aristocratic and merchant houses. The image above shows such an interesting coat of arms from a now ruined house in the Regina Maria area, at that time located on the outskirts of old Bucharest. The finish is very crude and models a Renaissance style panoply, but nevertheless is very picturesque and conveys the atmosphere of a bygone era of incipient national consciousness among the grand families of this region of the Balkans.

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I endeavor through this daily image series to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural heritage.

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If you plan acquiring a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in locating the property, specialist research, planning permissions, restoration project management, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.

Art Deco Building Interior Elements

Art Deco is first and foremost a decorative style and only subordinately an architectural one. Its crisp, reduced to essence shapes and motifs are inspired from the era of efficient mechanical production-line industries that emerged after the Great War. The recognisable angular, repetitive patterns and other abstractions characteristic of this style were also adapted for the building interiors, for elements such as tiles, window frames, stair balustrades or lift shafts.

Bucharest has been the setting of one of the most interesting Art Deco developments in visual arts and architecture. That was possible within a prosperous economic environment as the capital of one of the victorious countries after the WWI, massively benefiting from the revenues generated by the country’s large oil exports (Romania in the inter-war period was one of the main oil producers). The city, even today, after five decades of communism and twenty years of chaotic post-communist transition, is still adorned by many Art Deco buildings and ornaments.

I gathered here a few photographs of interior Art Deco elements that speak volumes about that phase in the urban evolution of Bucharest. The first picture shows a remarkable multicoloured floor mosaic made from rounded square cut rocks embellishing a kitchen located in a late 1920s block of flats in Calea Victoriei area.

 

Art Deco floor mosaic

Art Deco kitchen floor mosaic from a late 1920s apartment in Calea Victoriei area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

I very much like the simple, but exquisite mosaic pattern that models a garish rag rug, which was normally used in Continue reading

Daily Picture 13-Nov-09: Art Nouveau Echoes in Late Neo-Romanian Architecture

Bucharest

Neo-Romanian style house with a powerful Art Nouveau decorative register, built in mid 1930s, Cotroceni area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The Neo-Romanian style with its ornate and heavy, Byzantine inspired structure, has reached a dead end in terms of expression by the early 1930s when new building materials and technology were widely available in Romania that make possible the design of slender and tall buildings. That was the technological and innovative background on which the Art Deco and Modernist styles developed in that period. The Neo-Romanian style reached thus a sort of hubris in the 1930s, expressed in often clumsy attempts to recycle motifs from both old Art Nouveau decorative register originating in its late c19th beginnings and experimentation with Art Deco and even Modernist shapes and decorations. The image above represents one of the best examples of that period of searches and anguish in which the Art Nouveau motifs and shapes, like for example the central tower window decorations or the semicircular eye-like shape of its attic windows, are well balanced and powerfully put forward. However, one can not escape the sensation of anachronistic fairy tale atmosphere generated by this style in the 1930s, an age or roaring technological innovation and futuristic experimentations.

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I endeavor through this daily image series to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural heritage.

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If you plan acquiring a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in locating the property, specialist research, planning permissions, restoration project management, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.

Daily Picture 12-Nov-09: Mock Half-Timbered House

1930s mock half timbered house, Bucharest

An interesting rare example for Romania of mock half-timbered house of southern German filiation, with green oak leaf ceramic tile decoration at the base of the half-timber structure and provided with a slate roof. The building dates from mid-late 1930s and is located in Aviatorilor Boulevard area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

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I endeavor through this daily image series to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural heritage.

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If you plan acquiring a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in locating the property, specialist research, planning permissions, restoration project management, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.

Daily Picture 11-Nov-09: Empty Shell of A Historic Building

The interior shell of a historic building, Bucharest

The interior shell of a historic building, Lipscani area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The photograph above was taken last February and, as I write, the building is more advanced in its construction. The developer intends to preserve the outer shell of the historic building, putting up an entire new structure in its interior. The image is, in my opinion, a text book representation of the initial stage of that process. The project represents one of the better facets of the recently passed property development boom in Romania’s capital, one that seeks to preserve certain features of the historic buildings. This example is unfortunately an extremely rare occurrence in a sea of bad taste among developers and a frenzy of destructive development projects and illegal demolition of heritage sites.

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I endeavor through this daily image series to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural heritage.

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If you plan acquiring a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in locating the property, specialist research, planning permissions, restoration project management, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.

Daily Picture 10-Nov-09: Unusual Art Nouveau Window

Art Nouveau style window, Bucharest

Art Nouveau style window painting; house in Foisor area, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

I am uncertain about the date of this unusual painting: it can be a restoration of an original 1900s decoration or the Art Nouveau style creation of a contemporary artist.  The house is a Little Paris building (Romania provincially interpreted French c19th architecture), from a period which corresponds with the flourishing of Art Nouveau in Romania, but the painting looks more in the vein of the Central European variety of this style. It is a quaint colorful spot in a city characterised by a chaotic collection of esoteric architectural and decorative styles.

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I endeavor through this daily image series to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural heritage.

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If you plan acquiring a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in locating the property, specialist research, planning permissions, restoration project management, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.

Daily Pictue 9-Nov-09: Neo-Romanian Style Townhouse

Neo-Romanian style townhouse, Bucharest

An excellent quality example of an early 1930s Neo-Romanian style townhouse, Principatele Unite area, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

There is everything present in this house that constitute the hallmarks of the Neo-Romanian style: short Byzantine ornate columns, a citadel like aspect, arched Wallachian monastery like windows, etc. What I especially like is the Neo-Romanian style themed  street fence- the fence posts and wrought iron fence. The whole ensemble models a Romanian squire’s early c19th country mansion, the conac, built in the middle of a large town and represents a true architectural gem and also a superb potential renovation project.

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I endeavor through this daily image series to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural heritage.

***********************************************

If you plan acquiring a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in locating the property, specialist research, planning permissions, restoration project management, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.

Daily Picture 8-Nov-09: Art Deco Black Sea Villa

Art Deco seaside villa, Eforie Nord on the Romanian shore of the Black Sea (Valentin Mandache)

Simple, but balanced crisp Art Deco design of a mid 1930s seaside villa, Eforie Nord on the Romanian shore of the Black Sea. (©Valentin Mandache)

These examples of beautiful inter-war seaside villas were in general well maintained during the communist times as the regime used them for high ranking officials. Unfortunately now, 20 years since the fall of communism, many of these emblematic edifices are lost due to botched renovations or illegal demolitions performed by a new generation of ignorant indigenous owners and entrepreneurs. It will take probably another generation for them to realise the value of the architectural heritage put in place by their much more cultivated and sophisticated forefathers.

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I endeavor through this daily image series to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural heritage.

***********************************************

If you plan acquiring a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in locating the property, specialist research, planning permissions, restoration project management, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.

Daily Picture 8-Nov-09: Art Deco Black Sea Villa

Art Deco seaside villa, Eforie Nord on the Romanian shore of the Black Sea (Valentin Mandache)

Simple, but balanced crisp Art Deco design of a mid 1930s seaside villa, Eforie Nord on the Romanian shore of the Black Sea. (©Valentin Mandache)

These examples of beautiful inter-war seaside villas were in general well maintained during the communist times as the regime used them for high ranking officials. Unfortunately now, 20 years since the fall of communism, many of these emblematic edifices are lost due to botched renovations or illegal demolitions performed by a new generation of ignorant indigenous owners and entrepreneurs. It will take probably another generation for them to realise the value of the architectural heritage put in place by their much more cultivated and sophisticated forefathers.

***********************************************

I endeavor through this daily image series to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural heritage.

***********************************************

If you plan acquiring a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in locating the property, specialist research, planning permissions, restoration project management, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.

Daily Picture 7-Nov-09: Gothic & Neo-Romanian Autumnal Architectural Landscape

Autumnal architectural landscpe, Bucharest

Autumnal architectural landscape: view from the garden of the English Gothic Tudor style D.F. Minovici house toward the grandiose Neo-Romanian style Mina Minovici house. Both buildings are now museums, must see places for anyone interested in the esoteric architectural history of Bucharest and Romania in general (©Valentin Mandache)

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I endeavor through this daily image series to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural heritage.

***********************************************

If you plan acquiring a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in locating the property, specialist research, planning permissions, restoration project management, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.

Daily Picture 6-Nov-09: Turn of the 20th Century Bucharest

La Belle Epoque Bucharest

Turn of the 20th century Bucharest during the vibrant years of La Belle Époque (old postcard, Valentin Mandache collection)

The old postcard above is a general view of old Bucharest taken from a point near the base of Patriarchy Hill, with Doamnei Church as most prominent building in the background. It is signed by Hélène Robesco (from a local well known grand old family) and dated 23 March 1902. Turn of the 20th century Bucharest was a vibrant cultural place where three major architectural styles were developing side by side: the Little Paris style (provincially interpreted French Second Empire styles), an interesting with local overtones Art Nouveau and also the first iconic Neo-Romanian style buildings were erected. The residency from the foreground of the picture is a Little Paris building endowed with a notable light well that illuminated a stained glass celling of a central hall. That type of residence is still present in a notable quantity in today Bucharest and in the right hands would constitute excellent renovation projects.

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I endeavor through this daily image series to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural heritage.

***********************************************

If you plan acquiring a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in locating the property, specialist research, planning permissions, restoration project management, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.

Daily Picture 5-Nov-09: Elaborate Neo-Romanian Doorway

Neo-Romanian doorway, Bucharest

A very elaborate example of a Neo-Romanian doorway, inspired from late medieval Wallachian church doorway model; house in Dorobanti area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

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I endeavor through this daily image series to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural heritage.

***********************************************

If you plan acquiring a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in locating the property, specialist research, planning permissions, restoration project management, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.

Daily Picture 4-Nov-09: Art Nouveau Roof Skyline

Art Nouvea roof skyline, Bucharest

The intriguing Art Nouveau roof shape of an early (dated late 1890s) grand Neo-Romanian style building, Palace Square area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

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I endeavor through this daily image series to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural heritage.

***********************************************

If you plan acquiring a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in locating the property, specialist research, planning permissions, restoration project management, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.