Quaint Little Paris style house in Ploiesti

Little Paris style house from the La Belle Époque period in Ploiesti (©Valentin Mandache)

This Thursday I undertook a short trip to Ploiesti, the centre of the Romanian oil industry, 60km north of Bucharest, and managed to photograph a sample of its great multitude of architecturally remarkable houses, built in large part by money generated by its oil wealth and also from Ploiesti’s traditional role as major market town in the region. Its urban development and architectural mix resembles at a smaller scale the historical trajectory followed by Bucharest. One of those noteworthy building, which I encountered there, located on the Independentei Street, is presented in this post’s photographs. It is a picturesque Little Paris style (what I call the French c19th historicist architecture provincially interpreted in Romania of the La Belle Époque period) dwelling, dating probably form the second part of the 1890s or the first years of the c20th at the latest, which seems quite well preserved. This type is often encountered within the territory of the Old Romanian Kingdom (pre-WWI Romania, which did not contain Transylvania and other territories gained after the war). Its general outlines remind me of an evocative Bucharest house from an impressionist style painting, about which I wrote a past article, see this link. I like its compact, box-like appearance, with rounded corners, central wrought iron doorway and ample shell-shape awning. The roof boasts two protruding round attic windows, an ornamental crest and spiky details dotting the drain trough at regular intervals. The decorative register for this type of house is generally inspired from the rococo style panoply, often containing interesting Art Nouveau elements for edifices built at the turn between the c19th and c20th. The Art Nouveau style bits in this particular example are seen in the glazed shell-shape doorway awning and parts of the design of its wrought iron gateway and street fence, fragments of which are presented in the photomontage bellow.

Wrought iron doorway with shell-shape glazed awning, Little Paris style house dating from the late 1890s or early 1900s, Ploiesti (©Valentin Mandache)
Details of the Art Nouveau style elements adorning the gateway of a Little Paris style house (1890s - 1900s), Ploiesti (©Valentin Mandache)

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I endeavour through this series of periodic 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 or selling a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing and transacting the property, specialist research, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contactpage of this weblog.

Bucharest period doorways

Bellow are three examples of Bucharest doorways in styles that characterise most of the historic architecture of Romania’s capital. The first photograph immediately under the text is in what I call the Little Paris style, an architecture popular during the La Belle Époque era (corresponding with the late Victorian and Edwardian periods), which was inspired on the whole from the French c19th historicist styles very fashionable in Romania of that time. The second photograph presents a Neo-Romanian style doorway, a national-romantic architectural order peculiar to this country that reached its apogee in the 1920s, the decade following the Great War from which Romania emerged victorious with a heightened sense of national pride. The third image shows an Art Deco style doorway from the mid-1930s, a period when this international style became an architectural hallmark of Bucharest, which embellished the city with countless private and public edifices that still delight its contemporary visitors.

Little Paris style doorway, 1900s house, Magheru area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

I like in the above example the pair of eye-holes piercing the main panels of each of the doors, used to identify the visitors of more than a century ago.

Neo-Romanian style doorway, late 1920s house, Kiseleff area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The main feature of this Neo-Romanian doorway is its ample awning inspired from that adorning entrances of late medieval Wallachian. The two jardiniers flanking the door are of great visual effect and are embellished with intricate Neo-Romanian motifs.

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

This is a quite an elaborate Art Deco doorway assembly with an ample pediment and two beautiful jardinieres in the same style (a rarity for Bucharest) flanking the entrance on top of the access stair balustrades. I very much like the two wall lamps encastred into the pediment, embellished with stained glasses.

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I endeavour through this series of periodic 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 or selling a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing and transacting the property, specialist research, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contactpage of this weblog.

Fin de Siècle building in Buzau

The building presented bellow is a good example of a Fin de Siècle (1899 according to the inscription on the pediment) merchant house from the town of  Buzau in south east Romania. Today the edifice hosts a state kindergarten. Its façade is quite well preserved and denotes a picturesque provincially interpreted French c19th historicist style, in this case inspired from rococo and classical motifs crammed together on a relatively limited space. This is what I term as “the Little Paris style” architecture that was very popular in Romania of that time. I like especially the well preserved cast zinc acroterion that crowns the top of the arched pediment. The edifice as a whole looks like a wedding cake, reflecting the quite frivolous tastes of many well-to-do Romanians of that era who made their fortune in large part from grain exports and associated activities. That was in a way the equivalent of the Gilded Age for this country, a sort of peculiar aspirational interpretation of the then western manners and tastes in a region at the margins of Europe of deep Ottoman-Balkan traditions and mentalities. The edifice has unfortunately lost in the recent years its original resplendent wood frame doorway and windows, replaced now by modern plastic frame double glazing. The irony is that the finances  that paid for that kind of destructive renovation often originate from EU structural and integration funds intended for modernising the country to European standards, which in the case of Romania’s built heritage cause more damage than save.

Fin de Siècle provincial historicist style building; former merchant house from Buzau, southern Romania (©Valentin Mandache)
Fin de Siècle provincial historicist style building; former merchant house from Buzau, southern Romania (©Valentin Mandache)

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I endeavour 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.

Little Paris style roof eave

Little Paris style roof eave, 1890s house, Filaret area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

This image is a telling example of what Bucharest’s Little Paris style is about- a Romanian provincial manner interpretation, during Fin de Siècle period, of French c19th historicist style fashionable at that time in the country and in a somehow lesser degree throughout the former Ottoman domains of the Balkan peninsula (ie the neo-Rococo elements  seen in this instance in the pediment and classical-like pilasters and capitals) combined with Ottoman – Balkan motifs (the flowery cassettes making up the frieze, the rope motif on its base, the intricate wooden roof eave support arms, the elongated wrought iron ornaments decorating the trough on the roof edge, etc.)

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I endeavour 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 Contactpage of this weblog.

Picturesque Little Paris style house

Little Paris style house dating from the late 1890s, Mantuleasa area, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

This is an interesting example of Little Paris style wagon house, typical of Bucharest’s La Belle Époque decades (late Victorian and Edwardian periods). I like the naive mix of French historicist themes such as the classical window pediments or the corner apparent Ionic columns and the Corinthian ones flanking the entrance, with Ottoman elements such as the blossomed flowers that adorn the frieze and the roof eave beam ornaments. Remarkable are also the well preserved doorway conservatory and the steeple-like roof adorning the entrance sector of the house. The building is representative of one of Bucharest’s’ happiest and bohemian ages.

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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.

Vernacular Neo-Romanian style house

Vernacular Neo-Romanian style house dating from the early 1920s, Buzau, south-east Romania. (©Valentin Mandache)

I found this a quaint provincial, craftsman designed town house in the town of Buzau, south-eastern Romania. The building displays a mixture of styles, rendered in a vernacular fashion, where the most eye-catching order is the Neo-Romanian one, seen in the massive broken arch windows and the architrave medallions. There are also strong features pointing out to the Little Paris style popular during the Fin de Siècle era throughout the then Romania, a suave synthesis of provincially interpreted French c19th historicist architectural styles and a multitude of local Ottoman Balkan decorative elements, most evident in this case in the wooden roof eave ornaments or the apparent quoins. The vernacular interpretation of the established architectural styles is frequently encountered in the Romanian provincial towns, where professional architects were in short supply or too expensive to hire and many houses were designed and built by skilled craftsmen. In an earlier post I documented some similar remarkable examples from the town of  Targoviste in southern Romania: click here for access.

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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.

Elaborate mascaron adorning a Bucharest “Little Paris” style house

Mascaron adorning the window of a late 1890s "Little Paris" style house, Calarasi area, Bucharest. (Valentin Mandache)

This elaborate and quite large scale mascaron embellishes a diminutive “Little Paris” style (what I call the French c19th historicist architectural styles provincially interpreted in Fin de Siècle Romania) Bucharest house. The size of the mascaron is more typical of that found above windows of larger commercial and public buildings, making a picturesque contrast with the domestic dimensions and surroundings of the house which it adorns. The mascaron represents a floral deity from the classical mythology, a theme which on the other hand is very much in tone with the lush gardens of the old Bucharest houses during the long torrid local summers.

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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 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.

The 1900s doorway of a Targoviste city house

A well maintained picturesqye example of a doorway dating from the 1900s that embellishes a Little Paris style house (c19th French historicist styles provincially interpreted in Romania) in the city of Targoviste, southern Romania. (Valentin Mandache)

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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 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.

Mixed Style Houses: Little Paris & Neo-Romanian

Mixed Little Paris and Neo-Romanian architectural style houses, dating form the 1890s & 1900s, Targoviste, southern Romania (©Valentin Mandache)

The city of Targoviste in southern Romania contains an excellent selection of period architecture houses, reflecting the styles and architectural evolution of Romania’s provincial towns in the last century and a half. Some of the most interesting examples are those displaying mixed styles, such as the buildings presented in the photomontage above and the slide show bellow the text, exhibiting a delightful synthesis between the Little Paris and the Neo-Romanian architectural designs. That picturesque architecture has been created by the local skilled builders and craftsmen, who transposed in vernacular the prestigious and fashionable styles of their time. The usual occupants of this type of dwelling, which in the high density and land scarce area of Bucharest are known as “wagon houses“, were the families of the the small merchants and state employees (policemen, clerks, teachers, etc.) that constituted the emerging provincial middle classes of Fin de Siècle Romania.

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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 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.

Picturesque “Little Paris” Style Dwelling

Late 1890s "Little Paris" style house, Victorie Square area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Some of the most picturesque historic houses of Bucharest are those built in what I call the “Little Paris” style, which was very popular in the last two decades of the c19th until 1910s in Romania in general and especially in in its capital. It represents a charming hotchpotch of provincially interpreted French c19th historicist architectural styles mixed with a multitude of local Ottoman Balkan decorative elements. The image above shows such an example of “Little Paris” style dwelling, where one can notice the somehow rustic looking finishes of the classical/ rococo decorative motifs adorning the window openings or the house frieze. I very much like the c19th doorway with its little wrought iron framed glass awning. Some of the coloured glass panes are broken, but the structure could easily be restored.  The Ottoman Balkan inspired decoration is represented by the exquisite woodwork adorning the roof eave. Such “Little Paris” houses are relatively numerous in the central areas of Bucharest and would constitute in my opinion some of the most rewarding and cheapest potential restoration/ renovation projects available in this city.

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I endeavor through this daily series of images and small 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.