Video: The First Neo-Romanian Building- “Lahovary House”

In order to end the blogging year in style, I would like to share with you a short and I hope instructive video, shot recently, about the Lahovary House in Bucharest, the first ever Neo-Romanian style building, erected in 1886 after the plans of architect Ion Mincu, the initiator of this beautiful architectural style peculiar to Romania. This is one of the jewels of the Romanian historic architecture and it is just amazing how it survived the terrible upheavals and vicissitudes endured in the last century by the city and its heritage. Bellow are a few detailed photographs which I took when I shot the video.

Photographic details of the exquisite decorations adorning Lahovay House:

Veranda, with its hallmark roof eave ornaments. Lahovary House, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Ceramic medallion placed on a corner between Ottoman inspired pointed arches. Lahovary House, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

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Daily Picture 31-Dec-09: Art Nouveau Greetings for 2010

This is my way of greeting you, my dear readers, for 2010! The photograph is that of a splendid and rare Romanian grass roots variety of Art Nouveau style decoration embellishing an end- c19th house in Victoriei area, Bucharest. I hope that the colour exuberance above will also imprint the coming year! (©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.

End of year “Historic Houses of Romania” blog word cloud

As 2009 ends today, I performed a “wordle” on my blog. This is a word cloud obtained obtained using the Wordle (http://www.wordle.net/) web interface. It shows the most used to date 150 words on the Historic Houses of Romania blog. Click the image bellow for a larger picture.

I like this web facility as the cloud mirrors the essence of my writing on this blog to date (over a period of one year and a bit since I set up the site). The most prominent words which I use are: Architecture, Romania, Bucharest, Neo-Romanian, style, Europe, historic, architectural, property, Art, Deco, project, identity… all of which I am very proud! :)

Wordle: Wordle for Historic Houses of Romania blog: 31 Dec. '09

Daily Picture 30-Dec-09: Griffins Protecting the Garden of Eden Panel

Neo-Romanian style decorative panel on late 1920s house, Stirbei Voda area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The theme of the above splendid decorative panel, which I photographed during the recent snowfalls, is that of the biblical griffin(s) guarding the Garden of Eden. It is a recurrent theme in medieval church architecture and decoration, especially in its Byzantine branch. It is also one of the favourite decorative themes of the Neo-Romanian architectural style, together with that of the peacock. The specific Romanian element in the panel here is the Garden of Eden is represented as a vine plant endowed with rich clusters of grapes, a metaphor of Romania as a land of plenty (seen as an earthly Garden of Eden), where the vine grape is an over-abundant fruit and also one of the country’s main agricultural crops.

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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 29-Dec-09: Inter-war Modernist Corner Building

Modernist syle residential corner building, built in late 1930s. Cotroceni area, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

I took the photograph of the building above among the winter snows of December this year and found it a nice contrast to the local climate through its svelte Mediterranean looking international modernist style. It resembles the upper decks of an ocean liner and although that is a reminiscence of one of the most prescient Art Deco motifs, its simplified, essential lines are all too obvious in the vein of the modernist style. The inter-war architect was probably inspired by the Italian and French modernist schools of architecture, very influential in Romania of that period.

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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 28-Dec-09: Neo-Romanian Style WWI Example

The small provincial church in the image is an excellent example of c17th-c18th Ottoman Balkan religious architecture, one of the main inspirational sources for the modern Neo-Romaian architectual style. (Old photograph ©Valentin and Diana Mandache collection)

The photograph is from the time of the Great War, presenting Queen Marie of Romania together with her  daughters, Princess Maria, future Queen of  Yugoslavia, and Princess Elisabeta, future Queen of Greece, among wounded soldiers recovering at a camp hospital within the grounds of a small monastery in unoccupied Eastern Moldavia in the summer of 1917, when most of the rest of the Romanian territory, including the capital, were overwhelmed by the Central Powers’ armies. What drew my attention from an architectural history point of view is the rich decoration and particular splendid Ottoman Balkan architecture of the church, which is one of the  main sources of inspiration for the modern Neo-Romanian architectural style, as conceived by its initiator, the remarkable architect Ion Mincu in the last decade of the c19th.

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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 27-Dec-09: Art Deco Geometrics

A late 1930s built house displaying a wonderful Art Deco geometrics of crisp intertwining defining outlines. Icoanei area, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

I very much enjoy the harmonious display of straight lines gathered within the geometrics that define the Art Deco – modernist style of the above building, which I photographed a few day ago in the architecturally mixed area of Icoanei in Bucharest. The architect of that period managed to negotiate the odd shape of the plot on which the building sits, with a difficult obtuse angle on the street corner. The house staircase tower sits on that corner and through the artful play of the geometrics afforded by the Art Deco and modernist style registers, the designer found a wonderful solution of combining straight lines and volumes, which is even more admirable as that was achieved before the era of computer aided design, only with the ruler and compass on a piece of paper.

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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.

Short Video: Textbook Neo-Romanian Style House

This is a short video which I shot today in the Cotroceni area of Bucharest, showing an excellent example of Neo-Romanian style house. Apologises for the dog barking background. The guard dogs and their chorus of voices is a very usual feature in Romania’s residential areas.

Daily Picture 26-Dec-09: Provincial Early Art Deco Building

Late 1920s early Art Deco building rendered in a quaint provincial manner, with some Neo-Romanian elements (ground floor arch windows, doorway, etc.) Batiste area, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

I took the photograph above in a quite narrow street in the early September midday sunlight and believe that I managed to capture something of that building’s attractive quaintness. It boasts a very interesting ‘transition’ style architecture rendered in a picturesque provincial manner in which Art Deco motifs (ie angular geometrical elements disposed according to the rule of three) predominate. One can also detect there a proportion of Neo-Romanian components: the arched ground floor windows, the doorway awning design and somehow the upper floors bay windows, which remind of the cula fortified house tower abstraction (the main diagnostic element for many Neo-Romanian style buildings). Overall, the late 1920s architect has managed to achieve a wonderfully  proportionate and a very practical – relatively inexpensive design, which integrates itself seamlessly within the historic architectural mix of that area of Bucharest.

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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 25-Dec-09: Rare Exposed Brick Neo-Romanian Style Building

Exposed brick Neo-Romanian style building dating from late 1930s. Victoria area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The photograph above shows a rare exposed brick Neo-Romanian style building dating from the period of interesting architectural experiments that took place in the country in late 1930s, ranging from traditional peasant inspired to international modernist styles. Romania does not have a tradition of exposed brick construction, except in the limited register of medieval Byzantine brick and stone church and fortification building methods, a fact which makes the above example an interesting addition to the ‘vociferous’ jumble of architectural styles crowding this city, shaping its peculiar identity.

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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 24-Dec-09: Ottoman Inspired Art Nouveau Style Doorway

A very rare Art Nouveau style doorway with Ottoman Balkan inspired decorative motifs. 1900s house, Icoanei area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The exquisite Art Nouveau style house boasting this beautiful doorway assembly is just falling apart, which could well be the usual sign that the owners of this historic house intend to have it demolished, once the building deteriorates beyond repair (one of the legal means to obtain the much coveted demolition permit for listed buildings). The obvious goal in that case, is to secure the land beneath the house for sale (the historic building is usually seen as an expensive overburden) or for lucrative commercial real estate development. That is a widely encountered phenomenon plaguing Bucharest, which slowly transforms the local urban landscape into a place devoid of its historic and architectural identity, crowded with unsightly, low quality commercial buildings.

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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.

Winter Festive Season Greetings!

I would like to wish every one of my readers a very happy winter festive season and a prosperous 2010! Valentin Mandache [photograph: Beautiful, but in need of urgent repair, 'Little Paris' style house in midday Bucharest winter Sun. Mosilor area]

Stravopoles Church Cloister. Short Video

I just made this short video featuring the cloister of the beautiful and architecturally significant c18th Stravopoles church in Bucharest:

Daily Picture 23-Dec-09: Art Nouveau Wrought Iron Gate

A well preserved 1900s Art Nouveau style wrought iron gate with the monogram of the house owner at the centre of the main design patterns, recalling nostalgically the peaceful times of La Belle Époque in quaint old Bucharest; Regina Maria area. (©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 22-Dec-09: Early 20th Century Bucharest Industrial Architecture

A quaint early 20th century piece of industrial heritage architecture of French design inspiration; a potential restoration/ renovation project. The Match Factory 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.