Neo-Romanian style clock

A few days ago I documented a rare Neo-Romanian style architectural piece in the form of a letter box. Today, I would like to bring to your attention another such rare occurrence, namely a tower clock featured on one of the iconic early Neo-Romanian style Bucharest buildings, Scoala Comunala (Community School) designed by the Italian architect Giulio Magni and completed in 1896. The edifice mirrors in many aspects the design manner brought into being by Ion Mincu, the initiator of the Neo-Romanian architectural style with his 1886 Lahovary House and the Causeway Buffet (1892).

Neo-Romanian style clock, Community School (1896), architect Giulio Magni, Kiseleff Chausée, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

The decoration of the clock tower and of the clock itself consists in excellent quality brightly coloured ceramic tiles, which were introduced in the decorative panoply of the Neo-Romanian style by Ion Mincu, inspired from late medieval examples of ceramic tile decoration encountered on Wallachian and Moldavian churches. The ceramic tiles were also fashionable in the late Victorian period for decorating the exterior walls of public and private edifices. I believe that the producer of these tiles, based on how they appear, was an Austrian or northern Italian manufacturer that were among the main suppliers of the Romanian construction industry at that time, but of course that has to be verified in the archives.

Neo-Romanian style clock, Community School (1896), architect Giulio Magni, Kiseleff Chausée, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

The clock face is still very well preserved, with minor damages, although the clock handles are missing, but probably remnants of the orrery mechanism are still there in place waiting to be restored.

The coat of arms of Bucharest, St Demetrios with a mural crown, the Community School (1896), architect Giulio Magni, Kiseleff Chausée, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

The clock tower also features what I consider to be the most beautiful representation of the municipal coat of arms of Bucharest, a subject about which I wrote a popular article at this link, centred around the standing figure of St Demetrios under a five tower mural crown.

The entrance and clock tower of the Community School (1896), architect Giulio Magni, Kiseleff Chausée, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

The clock is difficult to notice by the passers by because of the thick chestnut tree crowns obscuring the façade and also because is quite high up from the street level.

The Neo-Romanian style clock tower of the Community School (1896), architect Giulio Magni, Kiseleff Chausée, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

The Community School building is absolutely magnificent and a must see objective for anyone undertaking cultural/ architectural tours of Bucharest.

Neo-Romanian style clock, Community School (1896), architect Giulio Magni, Kiseleff Chausée, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

I like the wooden awning of the clock façade, similar in many aspects with that of many magnificent Neo-Romanian doorway awnings encountered in this city.

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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.

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