The Neo-Romanian Style in an Arts and Crafts Presentation

A mid 1930s house in an interestig and rare Arts and Crafts-like variety of the Neo-Romanian style, Calea Victoriei area, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

Starting with the 1930s, the Neo-Romanian architectural style, which has its roots in the Romanian late romantic movement of the c19th, being also developed within the coordinates of a pan-European Art Nouveau artistic environment and based on the use of Victorian era construction materials and techniques, entered a period of what I call “crisis of expression”. This erstwhile architectural order was in that period in close competition with the slender and highly fashionable Art Deco and International Modernist styles that used the new building materials and technology like glass, steel and reinforced concrete. There were a few directions in which the Neo-Romanian style tried to evade a dead end in its artistic expression and reinvent itself, by branching out in what I call the inter-war Venetian style or slowly remodelling itself in an Art Deco or modernist mantle. There where also hasty attempts to go “back in time” to Art Nouveau shapes and motifs. A very interesting and refreshing direction of expression in those seminal years was the Neo-Romanian style presented in an Arts and Crafts-like manner. The image above shows one of those relatively rare buildings, preserved in an excellent state in central Bucharest. The Arts and Crafts characteristics can be seen in the essential decorative motifs rendered in apparent stone that dresses the window and doorway openings or the basic decoration of the upper floor balcony and veranda fences, the building being heavily pruned of the rich decoration typical of the classical Neo-Romanian style. It also retains the medieval-like massivity of the old Neo-Romanian order, but in the same time is more airy and also attempts to have the brick exposed as a ‘public presentation’ of its structure. All of these result in a very vitalist look reached by the Neo-Romanian style via the Arts and Crafts defining coordinates.

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

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

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

If you plan acquiring a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing 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.