Daily Picture 14-Dec-09: Deliberate Deterioration of a ‘Little Paris’ Style House

Picturesque 'Little Paris' style house built at the end of c19th, deliberately left to deteriorate by owners as a short cut to obtaining a demolition permit. central Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The ‘property bubble mentality’ is still lingering around in Romania, a consequence of the hugely insane property development boom that has affected the country in the last five years, which saw prices rise in many instances by 5,000%(!) or even more for properties in central Bucharest. Many historic house owners do everything in their power to sell their asset or build there a more profitable modern commercial building. Because most of these houses are on the architectural heritage list, the usual short way to secure their demise is by deliberately leaving them to deteriorate in order to obtain the much desired demolition permit from the usually corrupt city authorities. One such telling example is in the image above depicting a Little Paris style house (what I call the French c19th architectural styles, provincially interpreted in Romania), which I took in one of the central areas of Bucharest. The old ceramic roof tiles were dismantled and replaced with ordinary plastic sheeting, practically leaving the structure open to the elements. The drain pipes are falling apart and some of the windows are broken. All of these are obvious sings of deliberate neglect in order to deteriorate the house beyond repair. That type of building is one of the most iconic for c19th – early c20th Bucharest and marks the identity of this town in Europe. The house, into the right hands, would constitute a wonderful renovation project. Unfortunately many inhabitants of this city are completely oblivious to the intrinsic value of their architectural heritage, being focused on quick, short term gain by flipping on the market historic properties or building in their place modern low quality structures that are perceived as immensely more prestigious.

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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.