Art Deco survivor

Art Deco style house dating from the early 1930s, Cotroceni area, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

This is a compact Art Deco design house, which despite the recent mutilations performed by the ignorant contemporary owners, it still has some of the original ornaments and decorations that embellish its nicely proportioned façade, giving an idea of how charming this house might have looked in the 1930s. The rule of three that characterises the Art Deco style, is exemplified by the arched windows on the side-wall of the building or the panes of the first floor street façade window. I like the positioning of the two portholes on the staircase tower, as well as the small semicircular profile balcony. I do not like the recent replacement of the original Art Deco doorway with a cheap DIY shop contrivance, the double glazing plastic frame window that replaced the old three panned one on the ground floor, the fact that the flag pole that once decorated the staircase tower has been ripped off, a fact that has happened most probably a few years ago, or the terrible colour choice that just diminishes the visual value of the whole assemble.

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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.

Art Deco houses from Bucharest’s Domenii quarter

 

Art Deco era houses from Bucharest's Domenii quarter (©Valentin Mandache)

The Domenii quarter of Bucharest has been developed in the inter-war period for habitation by the city’s elite. At that time it was located on the outskirts of Romania’s capital in a green area, not far from the Colentina river lake system. The Art Deco style is the predominant architecture of the Domenii villas, the area containing some of the best examples of such architecture in Romania. I documented some of those brilliant buildings in a few blog articles a while ago, two of which can be accessed here or at the this link. The Domenii quarter is now, according to the city’s regulations, an architecturally protected area, but nevertheless it suffered and continues to suffer untold damage at the hands of rapacious developers or uncultured property owners, who got wealthy in the recent property boom and moved en mass to this prestigious area. A sample of the handiwork of that truly barbarian new wave of moneyed post-communist settlers (sometimes euphemistically called “new Romanians”) in the area can be found at this link; it is an Art Deco house stridently painted by its ignorant owner, who has replaced its original doorway with a cheap DIY store door and has also replaced the original Art Deco windows with cheap plastic frame double glazing. Most probably the Domenii quarter will continue to be mutilated for years to come by that type of property owners and developers and consequently its character and attractiveness will be lost for ever. The photomontage above and the slide show bellow represents just a small selection from that area’s treasure of Art Deco style houses. I very much like the the house from the lower right hand corner of the photomontage, which sports a giant abstractly rendered violin on its stairs tower (see it in more detail in the slide show photograph).

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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.

Bucharest mid-1930s Art Deco Style House

Bucharest mid-1930s Art Deco style house, Cotroceni area. (©Valentin Mandache)

From my fieldwork in Bucharest, I came to the view that an appreciable number of this city’s Art Deco style houses were designed by Italian architectural bureaus and/ or were also built by Italian construction firms active in the city during the inter-war period. There is a long tradition of Italian architects’ and builders’ presence in this region, first documented in in the late c17th when the Wallachian Prince Constantin Brancoveanu built his famous palaces that became an essential inspiration source for the later Neo-Romanian architectural style. The Romanian inter-war episode is part of the larger phenomenon of Italian designed Art Deco buildings that sprang up in many world locations, most famously in places such as Eritrea or Albania. The building in the photograph above is in my view an Italian architectural design pattern, on the lines of another case about which I wrote here, but of course that needs to be established by researching relevant archive documents. I like the harmony of the design and how the apparently contrasting volumes and different shapes hinge and play each other around the massive staircase tower.

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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 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.

Never Finished Art Deco House

Never finished Art Deco house, dating from cca 1939, just before the start of the WWII. Targoviste, southern Romania (©Valentin Mandache)

Last Sunday I went for a short architectural photo trip to Targoviste, the erstwhile capital of the former principality of Wallachia (the city had that status until 550 years ago when the prince Vlad the Impaler started to use Bucharest as a princely seat instead, thus gradually ending Targoviste’s status as the capital city). I posted a series of photographs taken that day on the Twitter and Twitpic websites, which proved very popular, with one image standing out as the most noted, namely an unfinished Art Deco style house dating from the start of the WWII (it was also re-Twitted by the account of the British TV station Channel 4- Homes programme, which probably helped to spread the news). I am now also posting that image here in order to bring it to the attention of a wider audience. It is indeed quite rare to find still unfinished Art Deco style houses anywhere in the world, as is the case here, a fact which can bring first hand insights into the construction methods of that era. The house was built, I believe, sometime just before the war, in 1939, when it reached more or less the present state. Because the dreary conditions caused by the onset of the war, which was very calamitous for Romania, it was left in that state. The end of the war and the ensuing more than six decades period were again probably quite unfavourable for the owners of this building to afford its completion, thus perpetuating its ‘never finished’ house status. I very much like how the exposed brick and the raw concrete bits give the impression of a new and very modern building, although in fact is a veritable time capsule.

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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 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 1932 Art Deco Style House

A balanced, good quality Art Deco style house designed by the architect R. Michaescu in 1932. Domenii area, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

This house is an Art Deco style classic, of a typology encountered all over the world in the third and especially forth decade of the c20th. It is the work of the architect R. Michaescu (1932), as mentioned on a name tablet on the façade. The building is located in a quarter of the city, Domenii, developed between the late 1920s and early 1940s, as a prestige housing area for the local elites, endowed with a good quality architectural mix that consists mainly of Neo-Romanian and Art Deco style buildings and also some fascinating hybrids/ symbioses between these two orders. I very much like the triangular shape first floor bay window of this house and its double entry doorway, about which I already published some month ago a picture on this blog (click here for access).

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

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.