Art Deco garage door masterpiece

I discovered during the last Sunday architectural history and photography tour in Calea Calarasi area of Bucharest a tantalizingly beautiful Art Deco style garage doorway, presented in the photographs bellow (the same image processed in three different sequences in order to better outline various parts of its delicate design). I am very impressed by its quality and excellent proportions that please the eye, and also by its good state of preservation. The design reminds me of paintings typical of the Bauhaus school, something like a cross between Mondrian and Paul Klee. The theme is a 1930s era factory with clerestory roof windows (the sawtooth-like elements), chimney stacks from which smoke billows out, clouds and Suns in different positions, at dawn- on the left, midday- in the centre and dusk- on the right, signifying a working day at the factory. The wall surrounding the door opening also contains a similar theme Art Deco design, which unfortunately is now quite obscured by a layer of whitewash. On the whole, I believe, this garage door is quite an work of art and a testimony of the quality of Bucharest’s Art Deco era architecture.

Art Deco garage door, Calea Calarasi area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Art Deco garage door, Calea Calarasi area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Art Deco garage door, Calea Calarasi area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

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I endeavour through this series of periodic 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 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 Contactpage of this weblog.

Autumn is around the corner in Bucharest

It seems that the autumn is not far away from Bucharest now, as I was able to discern during the architectural history and photography tour yesterday in Calea Calarasi area. Bellow is a sample of images, which I hope would convey that wonderful feeling of autumnal peace to you, dear readers. Calea Calarasi, although is within walking distance from the centre of Bucharest, the sixth largest city of the European Union, it retains in many aspects a semi-rural character, typical of this part of south east Europe, which makes it delightfully picturesque, as is testified by the bucolic scenes, announcing the harvest season, presented in these photographs.

Valentin Mandache, expert in Romania’s historic houses

Wine grapes in the morning sun on 28 August '11, Calea Calarasi area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Flowers in the late morning sun of 28 August '11, Calea Calarasi area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

"Semi-rural" scene in Calea Calarasi area, not far from the centre of Bucharest, in the strong and clear morning light on 28 August '11 (©Valentin Mandache)

Autumn is around the corner in Bucharest, cat on the steps of a derelict Neo-Romanian style house in Calea Calarasi area (©Valentin Mandache)

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I endeavour through this series of periodic 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 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 Contactpage of this weblog.

Neo-Romanian style lamp

Neo-Romanian style lamp, Amzei area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The Neo-Romanian style lamps are a rarity, so you can imagine my joy in finding the one presented in the photograph above. It adorns the entrance of Ion IC Bratianu’s memorial house in Amzei Square, Bucharest, an edifice built in 1908 and designed by the architect Petre Antonescu, one of the most prolific and imaginative architects of the Neo-Romanian current. I was able to identify only a handful such artefacts so far, see the example here, which is incidentally designed by the same architect. I believe the object has been designed at the same time as the house, and is not a later addition. I like its “oriental” appearance, reminding of lamps manufactured in the Islamic Mediterranean world. The Neo-Romanian motifs are the rope motif abstraction noticeable in the zigzag line decorating its frame, together with the solar disc on the lamp bottom, similar in aspect with medallions that decorate the frieze of many neo-Romanian houses.

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I endeavour through this series of periodic 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 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 Contactpage of this weblog.

Architectural tour chronicle: Campina & Comarnic

Images from Campina and Comarnic architectural tour (©Valentin Mandache)

The photomontage above contains photographs from last Sunday’s extensive and captivating architectural history and photography tour in Campina and Comarnic, 90-95km north of Bucharest on the Prahova Valley. This is the fist such tour outside the capital, which I organised so far, and I have been really pleased to have a number of participants way above my expectations, many of them seen in the images bellow. Campina is a beautiful town at the contact zone between plains and hills, which is famous for its oil industry, a wealth responsible for its interesting and high quality historic architecture. The photograph at the centre of the collage is a doorway pediment panel with oil industry motifs, embellishing the former offices of the local state oil company branch, built in 1941, when the area was awash with money paid by Nazi Germany, hungrly swallowing the Romanian oil for its war machine. As a result, there are many examples of quality architecture from the wartime, which is quite paradoxical, when one thinks at the ravages suffered by most of Europe at that time. Campina also has very fine Victorian era historicist style edifices and inter-war Neo-Romanian or Art Deco architecture, some of the most spectacular examples being designed by Toma T. Socolescu, a famous Romanian architect, active especially in the Prahova county of that period.

The second location visited, Comarnic, has its origin as a sheep station, which undertook an explosive development during the last two decades of the c19th. It was the main base base for the railway and road workers that opened Prahova Valey at the end of c19th, one of the last wildernesses of Europe. The railway enabled Bucharest to have for the first time in its history a direct and fast link with Transylvania and from there with western Europe. It marked the re-orientation of Romania’s capital from the economic sphere of the former Ottoman Empire, toward that of Europe. The old small hotels, inns, prostitution houses, concert halls of that age were built along the main road from wood planks and decorated with an explosive multitude of fretwork patterns, typical of the Victorian architecture and encountered in many other places of Europe or North America. Comarnic has thus probably the most abundant concentration of Victorian era wood fretwork in this part of Europe, which is now ignored by the official tourist trails and companies, remaining virtually unknown, despite the town’s relative short distance from Bucharest. We viewed most of these impressive buildings and examined at close range their intricate fretwork patterns, trying to imagine the life and atmosphere of the late c19th when this area was teaming with workers from Romania and Central Europe.

I trust that the participants had thus an interesting and intellectually productive Sunday out, in these more off the beaten track, but exceedingly fascinating, architectural locations. :)

Campina and Comarnic architectural tour (photography Dan Alexandru Croitoru)

Campina and Comarnic architectural tour (photography Dan Alexandru Croitoru)

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I endeavour through this series of periodic 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 Contactpage of this weblog.

Neo-Romanian style wine gods

Wine god figures decorating the frieze of an early 1930s Neo-Romanian style house, Cotroceni area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

I was pleasantly surprised to discover the row of remarkable wood carved wine gods (dimension of each piece is about 25 x 35cm) embellishing the frieze of a Neo-Romanian style house dating from the early 1930s, two of of those pieces being presented in the above photograph. I have not encountered something of a similar design in all my past fieldwork, so they must be very rare, if not unique. The figures were quite difficult to notice from the street level amidst the grim and fragments of plasters accumulated after many years of lack of building maintenance. The appearance is that of a Greek mythology god or spirit with wine or vine plant attributes, seen in the vine leaves that make up their hair and beards. The symbols associated with wine and the vine plant are an intrinsic part of the Neo-Romanian style decorative panoply, but they are as a rule found in a setting of Christian connotations and symbols. These gods are in that sense even more particular, making reference to ancient pagan faiths, a very unusual fact for the Neo-Romanian architectural style.

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I endeavour through this series of periodic 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 Contactpage of this weblog.

Domenii – Casa Scanteii area: images from last Sunday’s architectural history & photo tour

Domenii - Casa Scanteii area Sunday architectual tour (©Valentin Mandache)

We had, last Sunday in the Domenii – Casa Scanteii area of Bucharest, an extensive and in my view mind-blowing viewing and examination of two major genres of 1930s architecture: Art Deco and “Stalinist Gothic”. Again, I was very fortunate to have enthusiastic and well informed participants from a variety of backgrounds. Domenii quarter has been developed mainly in the 1930s and ’40s and hosts a myriad of equisite Art Deco and peerless Neo-Romanian – Art Deco amalgam style dwellings, built for the inter-war Bucharest’s elite. Nowadays the area is in a rapid process of being taken over by the new class of post-communist Romanian moneyed people who unfortunately are not cultured or sophisticated enough to understand the importance of conserving that heritage and, as a result, a large part of those buildings were demolished, replaced with characterless massive new structures or in the best case aggressively renovated. Casa Scanteii – the former headquarters of the communist central press, located close by Domenii quarter, is the second largest building of this country, second after Ceausescu’s enormous House of the People, itself one of the largest in the world. It was designed by a group of architects led by Horia Maicu and built in 1950 – 51, following the model of the 1930s Muscovite buildings known as the “seven sisters”, a species of grandiose communist era Art Deco style structures erected in the 1930s Stalinist Soviet Union. The building was intended to stamp on the Soviet domination of Romania and herald the dawn of a new era and society in this corner of the world. While Casa Scanteii looks from afar similar with its Soviet counterparts, at a closer examination its architectural details are very indigenous- inspired from the late medieval Wallachian church architecture (Brancovan style) and using a multitude of Neo-Romanian style motifs. Even its monumental doorways look like a Wallachian church entrance. These absolutely particular aspects of this Stalinist era building, which are today forgotten by the locals specialists and laypersons alike, were closely examined and discussed by the participants at the tour. I trust that those who took part in the tour had thus a fulfilling cultural Sunday out and now are the privileged keepers of some of the most interesting and esoteric architectural history information about this corner of Bucharest! :)

Domenii - Casa Scanteii area architectural tour

Domenii - Casa Scanteii area architectural tour

!!! The next Sunday (21 August ’11) architectural history and photography tour will take place in Campina and Comarnic, OUTSIDE Bucharest, on the Prahova Valley (1h 15min hour by train), see a map at this link; meeting point: Gara de Nord train station, in front of McDonald’s restaurant, inside the station. I look forward to seeing you there !!!

Valentin Mandache, expert in Romania’s historic houses

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I endeavour through this series of periodic 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 Contactpage of this weblog.

Manichean battle symbolism on Neo-Romanian architectural panel

Neo-Romanian style architectural panel: Manichean battle symbolism, mid-1930s house, Dorobanti area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The above panel is about 1.40m in length and constitutes the fence of a second floor Juliet balcony adorning a mid-1930s house built in a mix of Neo-Romanian and what I call fairy tale castle styles, located in Dorobanti area of Bucharest. I made the photograph during the architectural tour, which I organised there a couple of Sundays ago. The two sectors of the panel display a very expressive and refined Manichean symbolism: the good and evil principles on the left hand side panel and their never-ending and never-decided battle on the other, encircled all along by grapevines representing, in Neo-Romanian imagery, succeeding cicles of the universe. The Manichean myths have ancient roots in the Romanian peasant beliefs, being expressed in ethnographic art, legends and also intensely intermingled with the type of Christian religion practiced by peasants. The Neo-Romanian architecture has adopted the symbolism associated with those beliefs in its represenetations, as I often was able to find such wonderful depictions within panels and architectural elements on Bucharest’s buildings in that style, such are the examples featured here or here.

In the case of the panel presented here, its first sector (the right hand side one) contains a lion symbolising the good principle, paired by a fantastic and fearsome winged four legged animal with a “bloodthirsty”-like bird head that symbolises the evil principle. The second sector contains representations of battles between the good and evil: the first battle, from the left, is won by the good forces, where the eagle kills a serpent, while in the second battle representation the evil forces win over the good ones seen in the wolfish animal grabbing and eating a fallen eagle. I am impressed by the drama exuded by this last particular scene, rendered in a naive artistic manner, something which very much reminds me of the famous paintings of Douanier Rousseau (Henri Rouseau), the post-impressionist French artist, especially his canvases called The Sleeping Gipsy or Scout Attacked by a Tiger. I included bellow a close up of that scene to highlight that stupefying similarity. It denotes perhaps a phenomenon of artistic convergence in visual naive arts spanning decades and meridians.

Manicheian battle symbolism, Neo-Romanian style panel, mid-1930s house, Dorobanti area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

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I endeavour through this series of periodic 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 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 Contactpage of this weblog.

Historic Houses of Romania – marking the first 10 Sunday architectural tours

I would like to share with you, dear readers, my joy of concluding last week end of the first 10 Sunday architectural history and photography tours/ walks in diverse areas of old Bucharest. I started running this type of cultural excursion on 5 June ’11 and have been very pleased since to welcome so many participants with diverse backgrounds, ages, natives or from all corners of the world. I trust that my explanations were well received and the tours were a good educational endeavour in matters of Romanian architectural history seen not as an isolated phenomenon, but in a wider international and multidisciplinary context. That type of approach is badly needed in Bucharest and Romania in general, where is an acute deficiency of quality publications and properly qualified professionals in the field of period architecture treated in its complex multifaceted aspects. I hope that in time these tours, together with my blog articles and other projects that I have in store, would bear fruit through an increased public awareness about the beauty of Bucharest’s and Romania’s architectural heritage, its huge importance for the identity of the local communities, conservation and quality tourism.

Bellow are a series of photo-collages amassing together the images published in the blog articles that chronicled each of the tours (a complete list and links to those articles in mentioned under the first photomontage).

Photographs taken during each of the first 10 architectural tours - Historic Houses of Romania (©Valentin Mandache)

List of blog articles chronicling the first 10 Historic Houses of Romania architectural history and photography Sunday tours:

  1. From yesterday’s architectural photography tour of Cotroceni historic quarter, Bucharest
  2. Images from last Sunday’s architectural photo-tour in Mantuleasa historic quarter, Bucharest
  3. Images from last Sunday’s architectural history & photography tour in Carol Park area
  4. Images from last Sunday’s architectural history & photography tour: Cismigiu area
  5. Fire Watchtower area: images from last Sunday’s architectural history & photo tour
  6. Kiseleff area: images from last Sunday’s architectural history & photo tour
  7. Patriarchy Hill area: images from last Sunday’s architectural history & photo tour
  8. Gara de Nord area: images from last Sunday’s architectural history & photo tour
  9. Dorobanti area: images from last Sunday’s architectural history & photo tour
  10. Mosilor area: images from last Sunday’s architectural history & photo tour

Generic images: The first 10 architectural tours - Historic Houses of Romania (©Valentin Mandache)

The photomontage above is composed from generic images, representative of each area visited during the tours, which initiated each tour announcement article on the blog.

Tour participants and guide: the first 10 architectural tours - Historic Houses of Romania (photos by Romulus Bena, Dana Cernat, arch. Daniela Puia, Ioana Novac and Valentin Mandache)

The above montage of photographs is composed from snaps taken in the course of the architectural tours depicting participants and guide in diverse locations throughout old Bucharest, which I believe reflects the ethos of those excursions, their intellectual purpose, value and general nice atmosphere.

Map of Bucharest: location of the first 10 architectural tours - Historic Houses of Romania

The map shows the areas covered by the first 10 Sunday architectural tours. There are envisaged another 10 such destinations throughout the old Bucharest (tomorrow is scheduled the 11th such tour, for details, click here), repeats of the popular ones and also tours in relevant locations outside Bucharest! You are of course invited to participate! :)

Valentin Mandache, expert in Romania’s historic houses

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I endeavour through this series of periodic 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 Contactpage of this weblog.

Road utilities and Art Deco style house

During the “roaring ’20s” and in the second part of the 1930s, after the Great Depression, Bucharest went through a process of rapid urban. That was the period when the first proper urban development masterplan of the city was elaborated and approved, which in large part is still followed today. The architecture of the new dwellings and public edifices erected in those years was usually Art Deco and Neo-Romanian.

I found in one of my field day in Kiseleff area an interesting side street developed in that period, where I was able to discern its evolution, from first having in place the road utilities, followed in the subsequent years by houses built on plots lining up the road. The photograph bellow shows a canal lid dating from 1927, inscribed with the name of Bucharest’s sewerage works board and produced by a factory in Sibiu, Transylvania, the new province of then Romania acquired after the Great War. That indicates with a fair degree of accuracy the period when the road was built and its utilities infrastructure put in place.

Road infrastructure and Art Deco style house, Kiseleff area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The year on the canal lid corresponds with the beginnings of the Art Deco era architecture in Bucharest, a style clearly reflected in that of many houses built in subsequent stages on that road, as is the interesting example shown in the following photographs.

Road infrastructure and Art Deco style house, Kiseleff area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

This ample Art Deco style house was probably built roundabout the year 1930, judging by it typology, building technology and type of ornaments.

Road infrastructure and Art Deco style house, Kiseleff area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The house is embellished with a beautiful Art Deco panel containing luxuriant flowers and vegetation, sunburst and rainbow motifs. I like how the rainbows are marked by thunderbolts, suggesting the storms of the southern seas, a world that enthralled the Romanians of that era, dwellers of a latitude with harsh, Siberia-like, winters.

Road infrastructure and Art Deco style house, Kiseleff area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The house also boasts a beautiful ethnographic solar eight ray disc, inspired from the Neo-Romanian architecture, rendered in this case in an alluring Art Deco manner.

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I endeavour through this series of periodic 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 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 Contactpage of this weblog.

Mosilor area: images from last Sunday’s architectural history & photo tour

Mosilor area: images from last Sunday’s architectural history and photography tour (©Valentin Mandache)

The tour which I organised last Sunday, 7 August ’11, the tenth such end of the week cultural excursion :), in Mosilor area of Bucharest has been very popular, attended by professionals and students alike, in majority Romanians, as well as people from Ireland or the US, settled or working here. Mosilor is one of the most picturesque and evocative quarters of old Bucharest, being a mostly residential district with a strong identity expressed in its people’s sense of community and delightful historic architecture. The quarter grew around the famous Mosilor fair, which since the c18th, when was first mentioned in documents, took place outside the walls of the old city, on the road that went to Moldova, also known as “Drumul Mare” (the Highway). The fair and quarter around it grew spectacularly once the principalities of Wallachia and Moldova got united, forming Romania, in the aftermath of the Crimea War. Mosilor area, as a consequence, has a relatively high density of exquisite late c19th houses rendered in the “Little Paris style” architecture, what I name the French and other western historicist styles of that period interpreted in a provincial manner in Romania. Another well represented architectural style is the Neo-Romanian, ranging from early examples dating from the last years of the c19th, to hybrids with the Art Deco, erected in the 1930s. There is also a multitude of other styles from different periods- from a late c18th Balkan Ottoman dwelling, to Beaux Arts, Art Deco and Modernist edifices dotting the quaint and leafy streets of Mosilor. I thus trust that the participants enjoyed a good cultural Sunday morning out, full of discoveries and revelations about one of the most loved and enchanting quarters of old Bucharest. :)

Mosilor area: participants and guide during the last Sunday’s architectural history and photography tour (photo: Ioana Novac)

Mosilor area: participants and guide during the last Sunday’s architectural history and photography tour (photo: Ioana Novac)

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!!! The next Sunday (14 August ’11, 9am-12.00) architectural history and photography tour will take place in Domenii hisoric quarter – Casa Scanteii building, north-west-central Bucharest (see a map at this link); meeting point: in the Arch of Triumph square at the Herastrau park entrance in front of the big black public clock. I look forward to seeing you there !!!

Valentin Mandache, expert in Romania’s historic houses

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I endeavour through this series of periodic 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 Contactpage of this weblog.

Art Nouveau style gates

Art Nouveau style gates, dating from the 1900s, Mosilor area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

These interesting Art Novueau iron gates are one of the “discoveries” made yesterday during the architectural history and photography tour in Mosilor area of Bucharest. The metalwork of this once exquisite structure, which is an architectural rarity for the entire south-east region of Romania, is quite corroded and would need an ample restoration process to bring it to its former glory. I very much doubt that would ever happen in contemporary Bucharest, where most the inhabitants do not have even an elementary understanding, let alone appreciation, of their architectural heritage. The gates have, in my opinion, an infinitely higher chance to reach the scrapyard.

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I endeavour through this series of periodic 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 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 Contactpage of this weblog.

“Inter-war Venetian” style doorway with tortoises and iguanas

"Inter-war Venetian" synthetic style doorway, mid-1930s house, Aviatorilor area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The exquisite doorway presented in these images adorns a mid-1930s house in a synthetic architectural style developed in that period in Romania, which consists in large part in a mixture of Neo-Romanian and Italian Renaissance motifs inspired especially from the Venetian types, a style which I term as “Inter-war Venetian“. Specifically Neo-Romanian in this instance is the grapevine motif decorating the wall opening rim and outer arch, present also within the column capital and base, while “Venetian” is the general aspect of the columns and assembly. The most peculiar aspect of this doorway is represented by the tortoises and iguana-like lizards decorating the column base corners, denoting symbols of which I am quite ignorant, perhaps symbolysing the ground, the solid surface of the earth, the “terra firma” in Latin or “dorso duro” in the Venetian language, while the birds and winged dragoons represented on the capital symbolise the sky and heavens. I look forward to be enlightened in that regard by my more knowledgeable readers. :)

"Inter-war Venetian" synthetic style doorway, mid 1930s house, Aviatorilor area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

"Inter-war Venetian" synthetic style doorway,decorated with tortoises and iguanas at the base of the column, mid 1930s house, Aviatorilor area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Tortoises and iguanas as part of the decoration of the doorway’s columns, perhaps symbolising the earth and ground bound world aspiring to higher ideals in life, etc.

"Inter-war Venetian" synthetic style doorway, mid-1930s house, Aviatorilor area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Highly ornate columns containing bird and winged dragoon motifs, symbolising the sky and heavens and the manichean battle between good (birds) and evil (dragoon/ reptile).

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I endeavour through this series of periodic 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 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 Contactpage of this weblog.

Dorobanti area: images from last Sunday’s architectural history & photo tour

Architectural history and photo tour, Dorobanti area, Bucharest, 31 July '11 (©Valentin Mandache)

We had a delightful tour last Sunday, with participants coming from places as far apart as Belgium, US, Poland and of course locals. Dorobanti is one of the best represented areas of Bucharest in terms of quality historic architecture in a relatively good state of preservation. Many of its buildings have unfortunately been affected by the coarse and rapacious property development boom of the last decade, which destroyed or defaced many of its architectural jewels, but nevertheless there are still plenty around examples to admire. The quarter was mostly developed in the inter-war period, with a clear intention to host many of the foreign embassies in its sumptuous edifices that sprang up throughout the area. Therefore the architecture in general, not only that of the edifices occupied by the diplomatic missions, but also of many local residencies is just resplendent. The styles range from magnificent Neo-Romanian to well proportioned Art Deco or exquisite hybrids between the two. There are also some Little Paris style houses from the La Belle Époque period, when Dorobanti was much less developed, with a more bucolic character. Some of the most remarkable sights were houses designed by the great architect Marcel Iancu, in his hallmark International Modernist style, where one can discern the influence of Le Corbusier. I am confident that the tour was very fulfilling for the participants, who had thus an excellent opportunity to examine in situ a wide range of quality historic architecture and listen to professional explanations, giving them a good understanding of the architectural subtleties and sophistication of this prestigious stretch of Romania’s capital. :)

Architectural history and photography tour in Dorobanti area of Bucharest, 31 July '11 (Photo: arch Daniela Puia)

Architectural history and photography tour in Dorobanti area of Bucharest, 31 July '11 (Photo: arch Daniela Puia)

Architectural history and photography tour in Dorobanti area of Bucharest, 31 July '11 (Photo: arch Daniela Puia)

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!!! The next Sunday (7 August ’11, 9am-12.00) architectural history and photography tour will take place in Mosilor historic quarter, north-west-central Bucharest (see a map at this link); meeting point: in front of the Armenian church gates - 43, Carol I Boulevard. I look forward to seeing you there !!!

Valentin Mandache, expert in Romania’s historic houses

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I endeavour through this series of periodic 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 Contactpage of this weblog.

Art Deco style villa name panel

Art Deco style villa name panel, early 1930s house, Aviatorilor area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

I photographed the above panel in the low luminosity of twilight, which gave it a soft appearance. It indicates the name of a Bucharest inter-war villa, “Vila Marioara” (“Little Mary Villa”) in an interesting lettering style, with letters linked together on a background of “Southern Seas” flowery vegetation, very popular in Art Deco architectural representations of the 1930s Bucharest.

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I endeavour through this series of periodic 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 Contactpage of this weblog.

Art Deco style villa name panel

Art Deco style villa name panel, early 1930s house, Aviatorilor area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

I photographed the above panel in the low luminosity of twilight, which gave it a soft appearance. It indicates the name of a Bucharest inter-war villa, “Vila Marioara” (“Little Mary Villa”) in an interesting lettering style, with letters linked together on a background of “Southern Seas” flowery vegetation, very popular in Art Deco architectural representations of the 1930s Bucharest.

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I endeavour through this series of periodic 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 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 Contactpage of this weblog.