The Zodiacs of Bucharest: Photomontage, Video & Slide Show

Art Deco style zodiacal signs decorating the Zodiac Fountain of Bucharest, built in 1935, Carol Park area. (©Valentin Mandache)

Exquisite design zodiacal signs are present on two of the most iconic Bucharest architectural creations: the Zodiac Fountain from the Carol Park and the Zodiac apartment block on Calea Dorobanti street. The fountain was built on the occasion of the 1935 Bucharest Fête, a month long popular festival with great allegorical processions celebrating the Romanian national identity, organised by the government, under the patronage of King Carol II that imitated similar events organised in Mussolinian Italy or Hitler’s Germany, countries whose ideologies started to exercise a powerful influence in Romania of that period. The architect of the fountain is Octav Doicescu and the graphic representations in black and white mosaic pieces are the work of Mac Constantinescu. The style of the design is a modernist Art Deco, although the structure displays some obvious historicist features. The second such iconic building examined in this post is the Zodiac apartment bloc, located in the Dorobanti area, a very imposing edifice erected in 1946, after the end of the devastating Second World War and in the last year of King Michael’s reign, only months before the communists forced him to abdicate in December that year. The building is an excellent modernist design by the architects Radu Dudescu and Mircea Marinescu, decorated with sixteen panels representig the signs of the zodiac, creations of the artist Constantin Baraschi. The whole assembly is a testimony of the intensely creative atmosphere present in Bucharest just after the war that soon got strangled by the oncoming communist dictatorship. The image above shows a photomontage composed from close up images of the signs on the Zodiac Fountain. The fountain together with the Zodiac building are also discussed in the video that follows the text and are also presented in the slide show bellow.

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