Bucharest’s Art Deco glass canopies

Bucharest during the prosperous mid- and late-1930s, when Romania benefited from its important oil exports, boasted a series of well designed Art Deco style hotels and prestige apartment blocks, which had their entrance embellished with impressive glass canopies. These were exquisitely illuminated during the night with multicoloured electric lights, which together with the neon adverts that were ubiquitous throughout the city centre of that era, gave the impression of a modern capital, confident in future. Sadly, all of those accomplishments and civic aplomb reflected in architecture and urban life, were destroyed and nearly erased by a devastating World War Two, a harsh communist dictatorship that lasted nearly half a century and two decades of disordered transition to a market economy. I managed to find, during my fieldwork in Bucharest, a few of the last surviving Art Deco doorway glass canopies, now ignored, in a dilapidated state, or in the process of being dismantled, which are still managing to convey a bit from the beautiful atmosphere that percolated the city life in the forth decade of the c20th in this corner of the Balkans.

The first image bellow is probably the best preserved example of Art Deco doorway glass canopy in Bucharest, which adorns the entrance of the former Hotel Stanoiu (named Negoiu during the communist times) designed by the architect Arghir Culina, now the offices of an insurance company.

Art Deco hotel doorway glass canopy, the former Hotel Stanoiu, designed by architect Arghir Culina in the mid-'20s, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The next photograph is an Art Deco doorway glass canopy that has been affixed during the 1930s to the entrance of a Fin de Siècle building (which was probably a hotel) from the Lipscani Street in the old commercial quarter of Bucharest. The close up detail of this canopy shows that even its glass panes were patterned with Art Deco motifs.

Art Deco doorway glass canopy, Lipscani Street, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Close up detail of the Art Deco doorway glass canopy, Lipscani Street, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The two photographs bellow detail the glass doorway canopy of the former Hotel Dunarea, which now is left derelict, probably intended for demolition to make space for one of the usually corrupt Bucharest real estate development projects.

Art Deco doorway glass canopy, Hotel Dunarea, built in the mid-1930s, Gara de Nord area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Art Deco doorway glass canopy, Hotel Dunarea, built in the mid-1930s, Gara de Nord area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The last two photographs detail the remains of a doorway canopy that embellishes a prestige (in the 1930s, not nowadays) apartment block from central Bucharest. The entrance assembly is in a quite good state of preservation and can easily be restored, if of course there is will, expertise and finance available for such undertaking. Unfortunately all of these ingredients are missing in Bucharest and Romania of the second decade of the c21st and this building (and countless others like it), is slowly being defaced and barbarised by its own proprietors in misguided renovation works.

Art Deco doorway glass canopy, late 1930s apartment building, Brezoianu area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Art Deco doorway glass canopy, late 1930s apartment building, Brezoianu area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

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

I endeavour through this daily series of 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 or selling a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing and transacting the property, specialist research, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.

About these ads

3 comments on “Bucharest’s Art Deco glass canopies

    • Hi David, nice to hear from you! An eventual restoration of those wonderful Art Deco elements is still unfortunately a long shot in the actual Romanian conditions: a difficult recession and the post-communist society’s lack of awareness about the importance of the architectural heritage. Valentin

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s