The Art Deco style gate of a Bucharest Jewish cemetery

Bucharest’s Ashkenazi Jewish cemetery is located on Boulevard Ion Michalache, in the north west area of the city. It is named “Philanthropy” (“Filantropia” in Romanian) and among the many personalities buried there are Mihail Sebastian, one of my favourite writers of inter-war Bucharest, who wrote the novel “It’s Been 2000 Years…” in which he magisterially documents the rise of anti-Semitism and fascism in this country, or Iosif Sava, the best Romanian classical music commentator. The cemetery also contains a monument dedicated to Romanian heroes of Jewish ethnicity fallen in the Great War.

The Art Deco style gate of a Bucharest Jewish cemetery (©Valentin Mandache)

The gate of this solemn place is of a remarkable monumental Art Deco – Modernist style, which in Bucharest is a rare sight for structures associated with religious and funerary functions. The ironwork of the gate is an interesting combination of Jewish (the star of David, menorah) and universalist (the radiating sun) symbols rendered in an Art Deco framework.

The Art Deco style gate of a Bucharest Jewish cemetery (©Valentin Mandache)

The assembly also has the outlines of a classical antiquity temple, with its concrete pilasters flanking the entrances and the suggestion of crossing under the massive lintel of an ancient city gate (entering the city of the dead from the city of the living in this particular instance).

The Art Deco style gate of a Bucharest Jewish cemetery (©Valentin Mandache)

I like the geometric way in which the menorah, the seven-branched Jewish ritual lampstand, is rendered on the side gate presented in the photograph above, of a quite unusual shape, different from the semicircular branches seen on the Arch of Titus or the coat of arms of the State of Israel.

The Art Deco style gate of a Bucharest Jewish cemetery (©Valentin Mandache)

In the above image the rule of three of the Art Deco style is obvious in the three stepped wall framing of the window, crowned by a large pediment embellished with the star of David.

The Art Deco style gate of a Bucharest Jewish cemetery (©Valentin Mandache)

The cemetery’s synagogue is of a c19th architecture, derived from the Jewish central European baroque and dates probably from the first decades of functioning of this burial ground. The star of David is noticeable about the top of each dome covering its hall and side towers.

The Art Deco – Modernist style of the gate of this cemetery signifies, in my opinion, the spirit in step with the times of this once dynamic and creative community, dwindled by the events of Second World War and Romania’s national-communist policies of the second part of the c20th.

Design elements of a Bucharest Art Deco house

I encountered in one a my architectural tours, a few months ago in Foisorul de Foc (Fire Watchtower) area of Bucharest, an Art Deco era house of a distinguished design, of which the most remarkable was the ironwork of its gate and staircase window. The building also contained other design elements worthy of attention, such as its general volumetric set up, concierge window shape or the rusticated façade base pattern reminding of geometric, Mondrianesque, style paintings of the 1920s and ’30s. The images bellow detail those interesting Art Deco elements.

Art Deco style gate, late 1930s house, Foisorul de Foc area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

I like the pleasant to the eye proportions of this gate and how its general rectangular pattern is broken by diagonal wave and solar disk motifs wonderfully distributed throughout the design field. It is perhaps an abstraction of a modern city (the rectangular pattern) on an ocean shore bathed by undulating sea waves in its daily life cycle from dawn till dusk and over again (the full and outlined solar disks), etc.

Art Deco style house dating from the late 1930s, Foisorul de Foc area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The house has good volumetric proportions adapted to the small plot of land available for construction, an ubiquitous and age old problem in Bucharest. The rule of three typical of the Art Deco style is detectable in many of the design elements of the façade. Interesting is also the wall rendering, which reproduces the coral motif of the Southern seas, a theme popular in those years among Bucharesters, aspiring to visit exotic places so different from their continental European landscape and climate.

Art Deco style house dating from the late 1930s, Foisorul de Foc area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The staircase window is also embellished with a high quality ironwork which shares the design theme of the gate. There is also a porthole window, an echo of the ocean liner theme so fashionable in those happy years after the Great Economic Depression and before the conflagration of the Second World War.

Staircase tower window (©VM)

The staircase window design is indeed remarkable, a cubist-like painting rendered in ironwork.

Concierge window, late 1930s Art Deco style house, Foisorul de Foc area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The 1930s architect was obviously a talented professional who paid attention to minutiae details, such as the concierge window seen in this photograph, cut within the rusticated pattern of the façade base, itself resembling a marvellous avant-garde composition.

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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 Contact page of this weblog.

Wrought iron gate with cubist pattern

Bellow is a fascinating cubist-like design embellishing a wrought iron gate structure, which I encountered in Cotroceni quarter of Bucharest and have also shown to the participants at my architectural history tour, which took place in June past. It is another testimonial of the effervescent creative years of Bucharest that span the inter-war period, considered as a golden age for this city. The gate is in a run down state and needs urgent caring attention, but I doubt that it would ever receive any attention from the contemporary Bucharest people, having in fact a much higher chance to reach the scrapyard and be replaced by a new and “beautiful”, in their uncouth eyes, production line gate from a DIY shop.

Wrought iron gate with cubist pattern, Art Deco style house dating from the mid-1930s, Cotroceni area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Wrought iron gate with cubist pattern, Art Deco style house dating from the mid-1930s, Cotroceni area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Wrought iron gate with cubist pattern, Art Deco style house dating from the mid-1930s, Cotroceni area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Inversed colour filter: wrought iron gate with cubist pattern, Art Deco style house dating from the mid-1930s, Cotroceni 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.

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

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 gateway

This is an interesting example for Bucharest of an Art Deco style gateway that has obviously seen better days compared with the contemporary aesthetic injuries perpetrated by the ugly multitude of gas pipes blighting the casual observer’s vision and perennial lack of maintenance that it has suffered throughout the last six and a half decades since the end of the Second World War. The gateway consists of a rectangular archway with a chunky receding ends transverse bar, decorated with an apparent keystone formed from three vertical blades arranged in ziggurat fashion, and a wrought iron gate that fills in the entire arch opening. Three identical monograms of a crisp Art Deco design adorn each sector of the gate (see second photograph bellow).

Art Deco gateway, mid-1930s property, Mantuleasa area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Art Deco gateway, mid-1930s property, Mantuleasa 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.

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

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 courtyard gate – a glimpse from the charming 1930s Bucharest

Bucharest Art Deco courtyard gate, Gara de Nord area. (©Valentin Mandache)

After much travail with house moving over the new year’s eve interval and subsequent unpacking of countless of books scattered in too many crates, I am at last back at my desk eager to continue the delightful :) chronicling and analysis of Romania’s historic architecture and period property market. I would like to kick off 2011 with an image of an Art Deco courtyard gate belonging to a modest mid-1930s property in Bucharest.  The inter-war period is considered the golden era of Bucharest cultural and urban development, when the Art Deco style and motifs were much in vogue with an aspirational an upwardly mobile population. The gate with its well designed rectangular, “Bauhaus”-like, decoration of metal straps, that embellished a humble lower middle class dwelling, is an epitome of the spirit of that era, which permeated the urban society at all levels in this area of the Balkans.

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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 courtyard gate – a glimpse from the charming 1930s Bucharest

Bucharest Art Deco courtyard gate, Gara de Nord area. (©Valentin Mandache)

After much travail with house moving over the new year’s eve interval and subsequent unpacking of countless of books scattered in too many crates, I am at last back at my desk eager to continue the delightful :) chronicling and analysis of Romania’s historic architecture and period property market. I would like to kick off 2011 with an image of an Art Deco courtyard gate belonging to a modest mid-1930s property in Bucharest.  The inter-war period is considered the golden era of Bucharest cultural and urban development, when the Art Deco style and motifs were much in vogue with an aspirational an upwardly mobile population. The gate with its well designed rectangular, “Bauhaus”-like, decoration of metal straps, that embellished a humble lower middle class dwelling, is an epitome of the spirit of that era, which permeated the urban society at all levels in this area of the Balkans.

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

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 style courtyard gates

Bellow are a few examples of Art Deco style courtyard gates from diverse areas of Bucharest. They embellish ordinary 1930s properties and give an idea about a long lost gentler and more sophisticated age, before the onset of the destructive war time years and long decades of communist dictatorship and chaotic post-communist transition.

Art Deco style courtyard gate, ASE area, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

Art Deco style courtyard gate, Dacia Blvd. area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Art Deco style courtyard gate, ASE area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Art Deco style courtyard gate, Icoanei area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Art Deco style courtyard gate, Mosilor area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Art Deco style courtyard gate, Mantuleasa area, Bucharest (©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.

Art Deco street gates and fence

An attractive Art Deco style design for street gates and fence dating from the late 1930s in the Floreasca area, a quarter developed in the inter-war period mainly for skilled workers' families, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

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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.

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

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.

Bucharest Art Deco Style Gate

A remarkable mid-1930s Art Deco style design gate from Piata Romana area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

I am back from my tropical insect bite allergy travails and thought to restart the Romania historic architecture postings with a cheerful photograph of a well proportioned Art Deco pattern encountered in the design of a mid-1930s block of flats gate in central Bucharest. I like the enduring modernity and fine quality of this design, which speaks volumes about the creative atmosphere existent in this city before the terrible cataclysms of the fascist dictatorship, the Second World War and the communist takeover.

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

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.

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

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 1930s Art Deco Courtyard Gate

Art Deco gate embellishing the courtyard of an early 1930s block of flats building. Batiste area, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

The gate in the image above gives access to the courtyard of an ingeniously designed Art Deco style block of flats that had to make use of a limited size plot of land in central Bucharest. It thus managed to provide a small courtyard in a high density area, an Art Deco style speciality. The building surrounds the courtyard on three sides, having round corners at the bottom, an interesting design solution soothing the harsh rectangular shapes normally associated with a block of flats building. I very much like how the rounded corners of the courtyard are emulated by the curvatures of the side ornamental wings of this well proportioned and attractive Art Deco gate.

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

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 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.