Art Deco rainwater head and drain

The rainwater drainage installation, as many other visible constituent parts of a building, is often a place for rich architectural and ornamental expression, as is the case of the flamboyant c19th historicist architecture of rainwater heads, drains, troughs or drain heads. Those elements are also wonderfully articulated in the coordinates of the more modern Art Deco style of the c20th. I recently photographed two such interesting components that embellishing Bucharest buildings dating from the mid-1930s. The first picture presents a rainwater head ornamented with delightful short vertical bars, suggesting, in my opinion, a vehicle’s caterpillar track or even role bearings, facts that point out the origins of the Art Deco style in the post-Great War machine era design aesthetics, while the second photograph shows a balcony rainwater drain placed at the centre of an ornamental three stepped triangular base pyramid, thus epitomising the Art Deco’s rule of three, which is inspired from Egyptian mythology.

Art Deco rainwater head, mid-1930s building, Icoanei area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)
Art Deco rainwater drain, mid-1930s building, Cotroceni area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Neo-Romanian Style Rainwater Heads

Neo-Romanian style rainwater heads (©Valentin Mandache)

The rainwater head is usually a prosaic detail among the water draining fittings of a building that has the role to convey the rainwater collected from the roof troughs to the drain pipes. However, the high visibility of a rainwater head at the edge of the roof eave or on the top of the façade, also renders it as an excellent decorative element within the architectural design of a house. The Neo-Romanian architectural style gives a prominent role to the rainwater head within its customarily elaborate decorative panoply. The photomontage above and the slide show bellow the text show a few such exquisite Neo-Romanian style rainwater heads, which I photographed during my fieldwork in Bucharest.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


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 Contactpage of this weblog.