Transparent staircase windows

One the most conspicuous features of Bucharest’s Art Deco style edifices is the staircase tower. It is often embellished with ample windows unfurling along the length of the tower, which is sometimes also decorated with portholes and flag poles, symbolising the ocean liner and the idea of voyages to the southern seas, a the recurrent and much loved architectural theme by the 1930s Bucharest people. In most cases the staircase windows are densely decorated, glazed with opaque or coloured panes, not allowing any meaningful glimpse inside the tower, to see the design of the stair spiral. Bellow are a couple of the relatively rare transparent staircase windows, which I photographed in the Dacia and Calea Mosilor area of Bucharest. The glass transparency enhances the impression of lightness and slenderness of the overall Art Deco design and allows a glance inside these interesting buildings. It is however quite possible that their initial glazing was non-transparent and later replaced with what we see today, as a result of damages that might have occurred during the strong earthquakes, wars or revolutions, which have plagued the city in the last eight decades.

Art Deco transparent staircase window, apartment block dating from the late 1930s, Dacia area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)
Art Deco transparent staircase window, apartment block dating from the mid-1930s, Calea Mosilor area, Bucharest (©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 Contact page of this weblog.

Design elements of a Bucharest Art Deco house

I encountered in one a my architectural tours, a few months ago in Foisorul de Foc (Fire Watchtower) area of Bucharest, an Art Deco era house of a distinguished design, of which the most remarkable was the ironwork of its gate and staircase window. The building also contained other design elements worthy of attention, such as its general volumetric set up, concierge window shape or the rusticated façade base pattern reminding of geometric, Mondrianesque, style paintings of the 1920s and ’30s. The images bellow detail those interesting Art Deco elements.

Art Deco style gate, late 1930s house, Foisorul de Foc area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

I like the pleasant to the eye proportions of this gate and how its general rectangular pattern is broken by diagonal wave and solar disk motifs wonderfully distributed throughout the design field. It is perhaps an abstraction of a modern city (the rectangular pattern) on an ocean shore bathed by undulating sea waves in its daily life cycle from dawn till dusk and over again (the full and outlined solar disks), etc.

Art Deco style house dating from the late 1930s, Foisorul de Foc area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The house has good volumetric proportions adapted to the small plot of land available for construction, an ubiquitous and age old problem in Bucharest. The rule of three typical of the Art Deco style is detectable in many of the design elements of the façade. Interesting is also the wall rendering, which reproduces the coral motif of the Southern seas, a theme popular in those years among Bucharesters, aspiring to visit exotic places so different from their continental European landscape and climate.

Art Deco style house dating from the late 1930s, Foisorul de Foc area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The staircase window is also embellished with a high quality ironwork which shares the design theme of the gate. There is also a porthole window, an echo of the ocean liner theme so fashionable in those happy years after the Great Economic Depression and before the conflagration of the Second World War.

Staircase tower window (©VM)

The staircase window design is indeed remarkable, a cubist-like painting rendered in ironwork.

Concierge window, late 1930s Art Deco style house, Foisorul de Foc area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The 1930s architect was obviously a talented professional who paid attention to minutiae details, such as the concierge window seen in this photograph, cut within the rusticated pattern of the façade base, itself resembling a marvellous avant-garde composition.

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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 Contact page of this weblog.

Art Deco staircase tower window

Art Deco staircase tower window, mid-1930s house, Matei Basarb area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

I like the svelte lines of this staircase tower window from an Art Deco house in east-central Bucharest, which is excellently preserved despite the inauspicious conditions that prevailed in the country ever since the beginning of the WWII. Its quite austere lines remind me of the high tech factories of that era (e.g. automobile or aircraft industry), a main source of inspiration for the Art Deco style.

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

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.