Daily Picture 15-Mar-10: Neo-Romanian and Art Deco Style Gate

An extensive gate and fence built/ re-built in successive stages between 1920s and 1930s, displaying an interesting mix of styles: Neo-Romanian, Art Deco and even echoes of Art Nouveau. Mihai Voda area, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

The gate posts date from cca 1920s and have customary Neo-Romanian style shapes (they model the Ottoman tombstones typical of this order), while the ironwork is mostly an Art Deco style that dates probably from 1930s, made to model or replace an earlier wooden Neo-Romanian gate (it reminds me of a church or orthodox altar gate, a feature pertaining to the Neo-Romaina style). The ironwork also contains traces of Art Nouveau (such as the spirals at its top centre, etc.) The image above is thus an eloquent example of the roaring mix of architectural styles of period Bucharest. The city had weak planning laws until well into the inter-war period, when the first urban development master-plan (largely still in use today!). That situation, coupled with the customary corruption of the local officials, enabled and still enables the developers to circumvent the rules and build edifices in a multitude of styles, shapes and heights next to each other, imprintig the city with a particular character, which although looks quite chaotic, it gives a certain unique eclectic architectural atmosphere among the other capitals of the European Union. The mixed style gates in this photograph give access to a courtyard of terraced houses in an assortment of styles ranging from Art Nouveau and Little Paris (the pink painted building on the right) to Neo-Romanian, Art Deco and plain vernacular. The mix is quite picturesque, but is rapidly losing from its character through the recent unprofessional renovations performed by ignorant owners. The Art Nouveau – Little Paris house mentioned here is painted in a colour that most probably is not the original one; also the old Art Nouveau style doorway has been replaced (only the frame of the wrought iron awning is still in place) with an ugly, characterless DIY shop door, and the old window sets are now modern plastic frame double glazing. The trend is part of a mass phenomenon that has started to endanger the integrity of the architectural heritage of Romania.


I endeavor through this daily image series 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 locating 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.

One thought on “Daily Picture 15-Mar-10: Neo-Romanian and Art Deco Style Gate

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