Tour: the Art Deco of Domenii quarter – Sunday 26 September

Dear readers,

I would like to propose you a tour dedicated to the first class Art Deco style architecture of Domenii quarter, guided by me, Valentin Mandache, the architectural historian, and open to all of you who would like to finding out in a learned, interdisciplinary, but easy to comprehend manner about the cultural and architectural identity of Bucharest, scheduled to take place this Sunday 26 September, between the hours 11.00h – 13.00h.

Domenii is important as an architectural landmark for Bucharest, revealed by the fact that in the past has been the host of a part of the city’s professional elite, comprising especially high and medium rank officials from the interwar Ministry of Agriculture and of the Royal Domains, hence its name, and also pilots and aircraft engineers who worked at the nearby airport and its famous aviation workshops. The area has been built between the beginning of the 1920s and the end of Read more

The Tulip Period and the Wallachian Style

The Wallachian style in art and architecture, which is usually known as Brancovenesc (an incorrect term, in my opinion), was developed in the geopolitical and cultural context of the Ottoman Empire at the end of the 17th century, culminating with the first decades of the 18th century, a period in the cultural history of the Ottoman Empire, called the Tulip Period. It is an era of Europeanisation of the Istanbul’s empire’s elite, and experimentation with new artistic models, and their synthesis in what will become the Ottoman Baroque and Rococo. The Wallachian style is a repercussion of those major trends in the special cultural conditions of Wallachia, with its Byzantine heritage, and its political autonomy as an Ottoman vassal, at the frontier of the sultan’s realm. In this video I articulate the broader phenomenon of the Tulip Period, to its narrower and more peculiar manifestation as the Wallachian Style, highlighting its wide international and complex cultural context of those times. Only through such a broad perspective we can understand the meanings and manifestations of the architectural style of Wallachia, that principality’s most important contribution to the world culture.

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My aim, through this series of blog articles, is to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania and Southeast Europe, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of world’s architectural history and heritage.

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If you have a historic house project in Romania or other country in Southeast Europe, I would be delighted to advise you in aspects pertaining to its architectural history and ways to preserve as much as possible from its period fabric and aesthetics in the course of restoration or renovation works, or to counsel you with specialist consultancy work related to that project. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this website.

Orient Express: the Bucharest to Varna leg

A description of the most mysterious, interesting and romantic leg of the famous Orient Express train route in the La Belle Epoque years, the one between Bucharest and Varna, with period postcards and contemporary photos of old architecture from that period.

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My aim, through this series of blog articles, is to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania and Southeast Europe, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of world’s architectural history and heritage.

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If you have a historic house project in Romania or other country in Southeast Europe, I would be delighted to advise you in aspects pertaining to its architectural history and ways to preserve as much as possible from its period fabric and aesthetics in the course of restoration or renovation works, or to counsel you with specialist consultancy work related to that project. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this website.

A panoramic postcard of the 1920s Bucharest

In this video I present a 120 degrees of a circle, panoramic photo in postcard format of the 1920s Bucharest, discussing the aspect of the city right after the Great War, and the methodology of dating this artefact.

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My aim, through this series of blog articles, is to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania and Southeast Europe, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of world’s architectural history and heritage.

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

If you have a historic house project in Romania or other country in Southeast Europe, I would be delighted to advise you in aspects pertaining to its architectural history and ways to preserve as much as possible from its period fabric and aesthetics in the course of restoration or renovation works, or to counsel you with specialist consultancy work related to that project. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this website.

“Britanic Palace” – a Bucharest Art Deco apartment block

This is a discussion of one of the interesting ocean liner theme, 1930s Art Deco block of flats of Bucharest, located close to the British Embassy. Through a press cut from the local newspaper, “Universul”, from 1937, I found out that it was named “Britanic (sic) Palace”, presumably as a marketing ploy, trying to cash in on the prestige represented by the nearby embassy. That name is now forgotten after the watershed of the communist and post-communist periods, when a great deal of the city’s collective memory has been lost. This video is intended as a small contribution towards its recovery.

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My aim, through this series of blog articles, is to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania and Southeast Europe, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of world’s architectural history and heritage.

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

If you have a historic house project in Romania or other country in Southeast Europe, I would be delighted to advise you in aspects pertaining to its architectural history and ways to preserve as much as possible from its period fabric and aesthetics in the course of restoration or renovation works, or to counsel you with specialist consultancy work related to that project. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this website.

The metal roofing of the Little Paris style houses

A Little Paris style house, the provincial, western inspired architecture of Bucharest and many urban centres of the La Belle Epoque Romania, is as, a norm, provided with metallic roofing; sheets of metal seamed together, giving it a peculiar modern aspect for those times. This type of roofing is exceedingly safer in case of fire, compared with the traditional wooden shingle roofing of Bucharest houses. That material were highly inflammable, contributing to devastating fires, culminating with the Great Fire of 1847. That event made the authorities and the locals to look for safer materials. The change of architectural tastes from provincial Ottoman to Little Paris, was another reason for adopting the metal roofing. That became widely adopted only when the metal sheet materials for roofing became cheaper and accessible, which has happened after 1879, once the railway to the Habsburg town of Brasov was opened, and the products of the industrialised Austro-Hungary penetrated Bucharest’s and Romania’s markets. This video details this contorted process reflected in the mass adoption of metal sheet roofing for the urban dwellings of Little Paris style architecture in Romania’s capital.

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My aim, through this series of blog articles, is to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania and Southeast Europe, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of world’s architectural history and heritage.

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

If you have a historic house project in Romania or other country in Southeast Europe, I would be delighted to advise you in aspects pertaining to its architectural history and ways to preserve as much as possible from its period fabric and aesthetics in the course of restoration or renovation works, or to counsel you with specialist consultancy work related to that project. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this website.

Why the ocean liner theme characterises the Art Deco architecture of Bucharest?

I noticed, from my field trips, that Bucharest’s 1930s Art Deco architecture is characterised in an ample proportion by the ocean liner theme, in much larger degree than other capitals in central and southeast Europe. Why was that the case for a town at over 200 km distance from a seashore, and from a region and country that was landlocked for much of its history, without a seafaring tradition? There were a series of captivating economic, social, and sentimental/ emotional factors and personalities at play, which concurred in producing that result, detailed in this video.

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My aim, through this series of blog articles, is to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania and Southeast Europe, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of world’s architectural history and heritage.

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

If you have a historic house project in Romania or other country in Southeast Europe, I would be delighted to advise you in aspects pertaining to its architectural history and ways to preserve as much as possible from its period fabric and aesthetics in the course of restoration or renovation works, or to counsel you with specialist consultancy work related to that project. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this website.

CIA and KGB spying on each other in Bucharest

There can be made interesting connections between the Cold War spying and Bucharest’s historic architecture, and no better spot to do that is the site of the former US Embassy, a La Belle Epoque architecture compound, right behind the Intercontinental hotel, which used to host CIA operatives during the decades before 1989, and what was across the road from it, the former Association for Strengthening the Relationships with the USSR (ARLUS- the acronym in Romanian), a beautiful ocean liner themed Art Deco edifice, which offered a good watching post their KGB counterparts. To complete the set, there is in between them a Mediterranean style house, where the Romanian Securitate people were watching both the Soviet and American activities going on in those strange times. I have been a student in the 1980s right in that area, my faculty being next to the US Embassy, and felt on a daily basis the heavy atmosphere imprinted by that unusual Cold War situation.

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My aim, through this series of blog articles, is to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania and Southeast Europe, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of world’s architectural history and heritage.

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

If you have a historic house project in Romania or other country in Southeast Europe, I would be delighted to advise you in aspects pertaining to its architectural history and ways to preserve as much as possible from its period fabric and aesthetics in the course of restoration or renovation works, or to counsel you with specialist consultancy work related to that project. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this website.

Bucharest restaurants in historic buildings – a missed opportunity

Restaurants are some of the most suitable businesses to bring back to glory an old building, as the place where they function, through using the historic architecture and the history of that house for corporate identity, marketing and enhancing the experience of the dinners coming there. In Bucharest that is a missed opportunity, despite the availability of a large stock of old architecture buildings, some of them already housing restaurants, but where that design and aesthetics is not used, ignored, destroyed through aggressive renovation, or at best well underused. That is a result of the lack of architectural history education of both the restaurant owners and also of their patrons, clients attending those dinning places. This video details that situation peculiar to Bucharest.

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My aim, through this series of blog articles, is to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania and Southeast Europe, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of world’s architectural history and heritage.

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

If you have a historic house project in Romania or other country in Southeast Europe, I would be delighted to advise you in aspects pertaining to its architectural history and ways to preserve as much as possible from its period fabric and aesthetics in the course of restoration or renovation works, or to counsel you with specialist consultancy work related to that project. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this website.