The first CONTROLLED EXPLOSION DEMOLITION in Romania: mixed responses

The first demolition in Romania of a 1960s style tower block by controlled explosion took place last Saturday on 14 February 2009 in Mioveni, Arges county. The building functioned as the administrative quarter for Dacia Renault car maker, the most profitable and well run industrial company in Romania. That was quite a landmark event, as is well known that the Romanians have a love-hate relationship with this type of construction. 

Many ordinary people and also an important part of the press in this country have expressed disappointment that such a building has been demolished; they would have rather preferred it transformed into a block of flats. That is typical thinking for a majority among Romanians who, if given the choice, would demolish their period and historical buildings and erect non-descript tower blocks in their place. These buildings as the one that implodes in the video bellow are seen as immensely more prestigious than the small ornate period houses. 

An important proportion of Romania’s urban dwellers are first or second generation townies and live in grey concrete tower blocks that were provided cheaply or for free by the former communist regime. For many of them moving to these cold concrete boxes represented a gigantic leap forward in terms of comfort and prestige from their previous habitat in poor remote villages. In the early 1990s the state enabled most of the tower block dwellers to become for derisory amounts proprietors of these apartments. Now Romania is a nation of proprietors of such low quality real estate assets, that during the bubble of the last four years have reached sky high prices, in many instances more expensive than Bruxelles or Amsterdam quality flats for middle-classes. Demolishing a concrete tower block, as the one in this video, is in the eyes of many locals just asset squandering and also destruction of a “prestigious” modern building. ©Valentin Mandache

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