Journey in time trough moving flats: from the 1930s to the 1890s architecture

I moved flats over the last week end, which also meant “travelling” back in time, from an architectural point of view, from the 1930s, representing the period when my former apartment house was built, to the 1890s, the years when the dwelling in which I have just moved in was erected. It is a temporal “journey” of about forty years that saw a dramatic advance in Bucharest’s architectural designs from the ornate Little Paris style, an architecture inspired especially from French c19th historicist styles to the bold modern forms of the Art Deco and inter-war Modernism.

Travel trunk sticker of a 1930s Romanian Modernist – Art Deco  building. The sticker was produced in the 1960s in the fashion of the inter-war years. (©Valentin Mandache)

The house in which I used to live in is an utilitarian late 1930s apartment house, located in north-west Bucharest, built by the national railway company for its skilled workers, of a design that combines Modernist and Art Deco outlines, with some faint traces of Neo-Romanian. I wanted to convey the idea of that architecture and the home removal feeling through the picture above that shows part of  one of my “antique” trunks used in that process of transportation, embellished with an architectural theme sticker, in tone with the design of the building that used to be until a few days ago my residence.

Bucharest 1890s aristocratic house courtyard, Patriarchy Hill area (©Valentin Mandache)

The apartment that is now my headquarters is within the courtyard of a grand 1890s Little Paris style house from the Patriarchy Hill area  of Bucharest belonging to the scions of an aristocratic Romanian family, which produced, among others, a few important local and international architects. Parts of the building, with the exception of the section where my apartment is located, are quite run down, as the photographs bellow testify, reflecting the long period of neglect when the property was in the hands of the communist and post-communist state, being only recently recovered by its rightful owners. It still has many of its original Little Paris style features, from the great ironwork of its gate and main doorway to beautiful Corinthian pilasters or ornate window openings and roof-eaves, amply preserving the quaintness of the bygone La Belle Époque years. I have to say that when contemplating the new surroundings, I quite feel like living in that era, or even somewhere in a God-forsaken corner of France, on account of architecture and the huge chestnut trees in front of windows, although the place is not far from the bustling centre of this large metropolis of the European Union.

I hope that this space will prove inspiring in my activity in the field of Romania’s historic houses! 🙂

Bucharest 1890s aristocratic house courtyard, Patriarchy Hill area (©Valentin Mandache)


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