Word cloud for Historic Houses of Romania blog, December 2010

Wordle for the Historic Houses of Romania blog as for December 2010

The above is a word cloud of over 100 words used most frequently on the main page of the Historic Houses of Romania blog, using the http://www.wordle.net facility. The usual ‘suspect’ words are there prominent on that display, such as Bucharest, houses, property, Romania, Art, Deco, historic, architecture, style, Neo-Romanian, etc. and gives an idea about the focus of my research in the particular field of Romanian historic architecture and period property market.

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I endeavor through this daily 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.

Early Neo-Romanian style pattern

Early Neo-Romanian style pattern decorating the exterior walls of a late 1890s house in the St Joseph's Cathedral area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The pattern contains the representation of the lilac leaf motif, popular in the Art Nouveau and also early Neo-Romanian style (itself, at that stage, one of the many national-romantic styles that developed within the general Art Nouveau movement coordinates). I encountered, during my fieldwork in the city, a number of such exquisite early Neo-Romanian houses that display this peculiar pattern, as is the window example documented in this article, a decorative pattern that seemingly was popular among the craftsmen, architects and house owners of Fin de Siecle Bucharest.

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I endeavor through this daily 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 Contactpage of this weblog.

The top 10 “Historic Houses of Romania” articles in 2010

I thought it would be interesting to show which were this year’s the 10 most popular articles on the “Historic Houses of Romania” blogsite:

  1. The NEO-ROMANIAN ARCHITECTURAL STYLE: a brief guide on its origins and features
  2. Art Deco Building Interior Elements
  3. CASOTA CONAC: a magnificent Romanian period property that has yet to realise its potential
  4. RECONSTRUCTED FACADES of Bucharest grand old buildings: seeds of a new trend?
  5. BUCHAREST: a brief presentation of the 6th largest EU metropolis
  6. ALLEGORICAL SCULPTURES on the Building of Romania’s National Bank
  7. The DOORWAYS of Bucharest – Part 1 (the Little Paris type)
  8. Art Nouveau Wrought Iron Gate
  9. ART NOUVEAU restoration project in Bucharest
  10. The FINIALS of Neo-Romanian style houses

The site has became the most comprehensive Internet resource on Romanian architectural history and period property market, having a list of over 500 articles and well over 1000 relevant photographs shot by the author. The popularity of these articles shows the keen interest in the varied and in many instances unique historic architecture peculiar to this region from south east Europe. The 1st article suggests the worldwide interest in the Neo-Romanian architectural style, an exquisite order peculiar to this country; the 2nd article is a reflection of the interest in the Art Deco architecture of Bucharest, one of the still ‘undiscovered’ provinces of this beautiful inter-war design creation, while the 3rd article confirms the excitement generated by the Romanian manor houses, the conacs, which dot the beautiful built rural landscape of the vast lower Danube prairie and the hilly regions of the Carpathian piedmont. The other articles show a keen interest in the expression of the Art Nouveau style in the architecture of Romania or about the distinctive architectural artefacts embellishing the Romanian period properties like the exquisite doorways or the highly unusual roof finials.

Valentin Mandache, author of the “Historic Houses of Romania” blog

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I endeavor through this daily 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.

Round towers Art Deco apartment house

Round towers Art Deco style apartment house dating from the late 1930s, Spain Square, Bucharest (Valentin Mandache)

The building above is located in an area of Bucharest developed in the late 1920s and throughout the 1930s, full of interesting Neo-Romanian, Art Deco and Modernist style buildings and street furnishing. This particular edifice is placed on an quite sharp angle street corner. I like the aesthetical architectural solution found by the inter-war designer in the form of a symmetrical façade flanked by tower-like structures, one of which (the right hand side one) wonderfully solves, through its circular profile, the design problem posed by the more unusual street corner.

Location of Round Towers Art Deco apartment house, Spain Square, Bucharest

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I endeavor through this daily 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.

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

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.

Art Deco brick pattern

An elegant Art Deco brick pattern panel embellishing a late 1930s building in Campina, southern Romania. (©Valentin Mandache)

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I endeavor through this daily 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.

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

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.

King Michael of Romania’s Christmas 2010 Message (via Romania Altfel)

 

King Michael of Romania’s Christmas 2010 message (via Romania Altfel. A blog by Prince Radu of Romania)click the image above to access the article [in Romanian].

Romanian Architectural History Christmas!

A very Happy Christmas from Diana & Valentin!

The Historic Houses of Romania blog finishes its second year of intense activity :) and wishes to celebrate the Christmas with the photograph (inverse colours) of a beautiful 1890s wood lattice panelled house from the city of Comarnic in the Transylvanian Alps! Valentin & Diana Mandache

1970s Romanian Modernism

Romania has seen its last strokes of quality architecture during the 1970s, when many of the talented inter-war generation architects were approaching the end of their professional life and their pupils were worthy followers of their masters. The subsequent decade marked the heightening of Ceausescu’s personal dictatorship to Orwellian levels, when the country was saddled with megalomaniac industrial and public architecture projects like the infamous House of the People palace, which today houses the Romanian parliament, allegedly the second largest building in the world. That crass political expediency, very similar with that of the North Korea, at the expense of quality and professionalism marked a terrible deterioration of the architectural profession in Romania, a situation from which has not yet recoverd even now, two decade after the fall of the communist dictatorship. I sometime encounter architecturally notable post-war modernist buildings during my fieldwork assignments throughout the country, which generally fit the rule that were designed and built before 1980 – ’82 (when Ceausescu’s totalitarianism finally griped the society to all levels). One such encounter is the building presented bellow from the city of Campina in southern Romania, dating probably from the late 1970s. Its hallmark is the well designed doorway with a very bold concrete awning, like the ascending path of a jet aircraft. The edifice is now empty and left unmaintained, an indication sign that its future is grim. Many such good examples of post-war modernist architecture are now slowly disappearing from Romania’s built landscape, being replaced by coarsely designed architectural concoctions, products of the rapacious real estate speculation that has engulfed Romania in the recent.

Romanian 1970s modernist architecture, Campina (©Valentin Mandache)

Romanian 1970s modernist architecture, Campina (©Valentin Mandache)

Romanian 1970s modernist architecture, Campina (©Valentin Mandache)

Romanian 1970s modernist architecture, Campina (©Valentin Mandache)

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I endeavor through this daily 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.

Solstice resonating architecture

The coat of arms of the Principality of Wallachia, early c18th, the New St George's church, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The 2010 winter solstice unfurled yesterday and, for the first time in 456 years, there was a also a Moon eclipse. I thought that a fitting way to mark this rare astronomical concomitance would be by posting an architectural image that brings together the Moon and the Sun. The coat of arms of the old Principality of Wallachia (as well as that of the Principality of Moldova) features a full radiant Sun and a Moon crescent, both often endowed with figurative human faces, flanking an eagle. I found a good representation of this coat of arms on the votive inscription dating from the first part of the c17th, presented above, which embellished the New St Georges’ Church in Bucharest. The lettering of the inscription is in the Cyrillic alphabet used for rendering the Romanian language until the mid-c19th.

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I endeavor through this daily 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.

The Romanian Revolution of 21 years ago today

I have been a participant in the historical watershed event that affected Romania in December 1989, which led to the violent overthrow of the communist dictatorship and paved the way to the first hesitant steps toward democracy after a 42 year hiatus since King Michael was forced to abdicate on 30 December 1947. Bellow are two of my articles on subjects related to the Romanian Revolution, published previously on this blog; just click the image to access the relevant article:

The Romanian Revolution of 1989- Twenty Years On. A Book Review

The BATTLE SCAR PEDIGREE of Bucharest’s period buildings: relics of the 1989 Revolution

Art Deco doorways

Bellow is a selection of Art Deco style doorways from the 1930s Romania, a minuscule sample of the immense variety of Art Deco designs and shapes that embellish the urban landscape from this corner of Europe.

Art Deco style doorway dating from the mid-1930s, Icoanei area, Bucharest. The design contains two main motifs: sunbursts and ocean waves. (©Valentin Mandache)

Art Deco style doorways, dating from the late-1930s, Romana area, Bucharest; design inspired from industrial-modernist archetypes. (©Valentin Mandache)

Art Deco style doorways, dating from the mid-1930s, Domenii area, Bucharest. The door architrave/ wall opening is a Neo-Romanian style design, while the door itself is Art Deco. (©Valentin Mandache)

Art Deco style doorways, dating from the mid-1930s, Campina. The door architrave is an Art Deco design, while the door is a mix of Neo-Romanian and Little Paris style designs. (©Valentin Mandache)

Art Deco style doorways, dating from the early 1930s, Magheru area, Bucharest. The design resembles a flowery Art Deco type often encountered in Spain or Italy. (©Valentin Mandache)

Art Deco style doorways, dating from the mid-1930s, Cotroceni area, Bucharest; classical motifs like columns and entablature within an Art Deco framework. (©Valentin Mandache)

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I endeavor through this daily 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.

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

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.

Solar symbol in local stone

Ethnographic solar symbol (about 70 cm diameter) in lumachel limestone, Buzau (©Valentin Mandache)

The above ethnographic solar symbol adorns the doorway of the remarkable Palace of Justice in Buzau, south east Romania, a building designed by the great architect Petre Antonescu in the Neo-Romanian style with interesting Art Nouveau overtones; edifice completed in 1912. The solar motif features prominently in the Romanian peasant art and is found represented in contexts ranging from sewing patterns to wood and stone carvings. What I like in this particular representation is the fact that is carved in the local lumachel stone (greyish brown limestone, made from cemented together fossil shells). The stone comes from quarries located on the Istrita hill in the Carpathian piedmont (aka the Subcarpathians), not far from the city of Buzau. The stone, known locally as the “Istrita stone” is found in the structure and decoration of many peasant houses or public edifices from that region. It also used to be the main material for making peasant crosses, which imprinted the old local village cemeteries with an extremely picturesque, stone forest like character. The Istrita stone has seen a fatal decline in its use as building material ever since the industrially produced concrete became cheap and widely available in the 1960s, a fact that contributed to the loss of an essential component of the architectural identity and character of the Buzau county.

Above is a Google sattelite map of the Istrita hill

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I endeavor through this daily 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.

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

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.