CRITICAL REVIEW


     Cristofi Cerchez is one of the most important creators of the neo-Romanian style. When he returned to the country, he was influenced by the style of the arch. Ion Mincu (1852-1912), yet he shaped his own personal style, firstly defined (1898-1910) by terraced houses, laterally marked by turret-towers (Eugeniu Statescu villa, Minovici villa). In the upcoming period, he renounced vertical elements, predominating single-storey buildings (1911-1914: Zentler villas, Candiano-Popescu, Stanovici; 1922-1932: Matasaru villa, personal villa on str. Sf. Ștefan 13A, Argetoianu villa, Raducanu villa).
     
Cerchez was strongly influenced by the townsmen houses of the 18th and 19th centuries that presented verandas and were decorated with stucco panels and decorative columns with capitals with webbed elements. The architect opted for asymmetries of the facades and volumes in retreat. The entries copy with accuracy the peasant gate "garlici". From the Muscelean field he adopted the "elliptic arch" which frames the entrance door and, sometimes, the windows as well.
     
The houses projected by the arch. Cerchez do not exceed two levels, generally presenting a basement (cellar), ground floor and a first floor. Downstairs there can be found reception rooms and family leisure rooms (hall, dining-room, salon and office). Upstairs there could be found the bedrooms with bathrooms and toilets and other rooms (for example, for the servants).
     
By not limiting himself strictly to the national style in conducting his constructions, Cristofi Cerchez also designed in French eclectic style (Maximovici villa, Mina Minovici villa, personal building on Carol Blvd. nr. 66) and modernist/cubist style starting in the 30s (personal building on str. V. A. Ureche, building on str. Olteni, Nicu Cerchez villa, Capatana building).
     
Even though his activity was substantial and he influenced the younger generations (Henrietta Delavrancea, Nicu Georgescu, Constantin Joja), Cristofi Cerchez was forgotten, in many respects: the existing buildings are very little known today, his personality is quasi-obscure, and the existing buildings are in a state of degradation or modification which indicates a total disinterest regarding a valuable patrimony.  (Oana Marinache, 2015)
 


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    BIOGRAPHY


    (Baneasa Herastrau town, July 5th 1872 - 1955)
     
    Academic/specialized studies and scholarships:
    1894 - He graduated the National School of Bridges and Roads, thus becoming an engineer;
    1895-1898 - School of Fine Arts, Civil Architecture Department, he received a private scholarship to attend the architecture courses at the Milan Polytechnic.
     
    Professional activity (affiliations, administrative positions, committees):
    1900-1901 - He occupied a position in the technical service of Constanta.
     


    PROJECTS


     Finished projects
     
    Architecture projects:
    1898-1900 - "Eugeniu Statescu" villa (with later changes), Str. Lascar Catargiu 38/43, Campulung Muscel;
    1905-1906 - The Primary School for boys "Alexandru Scorteanu" and the principal’s house (currently Sf. Vineri), Str. Stadionului 9 - formerly Str. Alexandru II 10, Ploiesti;
    1910-1916 - "Sf. Imparati Constantin si Elena" Church and "Adormirea Maicii Domnului" (the old church) also known as Popa Nan Church, Str. Popa Nan 47bis, Str. Gheorghe Costa-Foru 5A, Bucharest;
    1911 - Micu Zentler Villa, Str. Mantuleasa 10 - formerly 8, Bucharest;
    1911-1912 - The Sofia and Eliza Canadiano-Popescu villa (later property of the Basarab Brancoveanu family, with modifications), Filipescu Park, Str. Rabat 19 - Al. Modrogan 19-21, Bucharest;
    1913 - Mina Minovici house, unidentified, Bucharest;
    1914 - Stanovici villa (later modifications), Str. Remus 6 with Str. Iuliu Valaori, Bucharest;
    1914 - Moldavian/Wallachian villa of the brothers T. and engineer D. Ionescu, Str. Atena 4-6, formerly Al. Zoe, Bucharest;
    1920-1921 - Neagu/Argetoianu villa, Str. Henri Coanda 36 - formerly Clopotarii vechi 36 in 1920, Victor Emanuel III 36 in 1922), Bucharest;
    1923 - Eftimiu-Eliad villa, later on Istrate Micescu’s, Str. Thomas Masaryk – formerly Str. Salciilor 11, Bucharest;
    1924-1926 - The old Polizu maternity, Str. Polizu Gheorghe 38-52, Bucharest;
    1926 - N. Ionescu-Braila villa, Al. Alexandru 37 – formerly 29, Filipescu Park, Bucharest;
    1926-1927 - Parish house of the Holy Apostles church, Str. Sfintii Apostoli 1, Bucharest;
    1926-1928 - Taranu property (later interventions), later on property of the French-Romanian Bank (currently the Czech Embassy in Romania), Str. Ion Ghica 11 - formerly Str. Vestei 13/Str Bursei 5, Bucharest;
    1928 - Dr. Oreviceanu villa, Str. Alexandru Donici 28, Bucharest;
    1928 - Linde Villa, Str Brazilia 24 (in the plot of the Edilitatea Society), Bucharest;
    1928 - Parish house of Mantuleasa Church, Str. Mantuleasa 20, Bucharest;
    1929 - Istrate Micescu Mausoleum, Ciumesti, Arges;
    1929 - Nastasescu villa, Str. Brazilia 24 bis (plot of the Edilitatea Society), Bucharest;
    1929 (?) - Bantas- Frunzeanu-Iatan Poenaru Mansion (ruined today), Merii Petchi village, Nuci, Ilfov.
    1929-1932 - Eufrosina Matasaru villa (later modifications), Str Emanoil Porumbaru 12, Porumbaru/Uruguay plot, Bucharest;
    after 1932 - Nicolae Cerchez villa, Str. Dr. Nicolae Minovici 1 - formerly Kiseleff 1, Baneasa;
    1940-1941 - Bank of Commerce and the director’s house, unidentified address for the bank, house address for I. Zamfirescu’s house Str. Regele Carol 21, Bucharest;
    1941-1942 - Adormirea Maicii Domnului Monastery, Berceni branch, reconstruction, Bucharest;
     
    Unfinished projects:

    1924 - Project for rebuilding the commercial halls in Campulung Muscel, Sf. Ilia/Royal/Central square;
    1942 - The Sino-Japanese Museum, National/Herastrau Park, Rose Island.
     
    Restoration projects:
    after World War I - Restoration of Sturdza Palace, seat for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together with entrepreneur architect Thoma Dobrescu, Bucharest;
    after the earthquake in 1940 - Episcopalian Cathedral  Sf. Alexandru, Alexandria;
    1940-1941 - Bank of Commerce, Valenii de Munte;
    ? - R. Capatana house
    1945 - Nicolae Georgescu-Stefanesti house, rebuilt.
     
    Interior projects:
    Furniture pieces are to be found with his offspring, and quite likely in churches.
     
    Several houses were bombed during the World War II (Salvarea, partially the Canadiano-Popescu villa); others were lost in the 80s during the demolition period (modernist house on Olteni 19, his own house on V. A Ureche, Maximovici villa on Izvor, the laboratories of the Legal-Medical Institute (?), State Archives at Mihai Voda).
     
    Contests:
    Bucharest City Hall
     
    Publishing/editing work:
    Cristofi Cerchez, Dacia preistorica si istorica, Ararat Publishing House, Bucharest, 2002.
    Articles in #"Arhitectura" magazine.
     


    BIBLIOGRAPHY


    Marinache, Oana, Cristofi Cerchez, un vechiu arhitect din Bucuresti, Editura ACS, Bucuresti, 2012.
    Păuleanu, Doina, Cazinoul din Constanta, Boema, loisir si patrimoniu european la Marea Neagra,  Dobrogei, Constanta, 2011.
     
    Webgraphy:
    http://cristoficerchez.blogspot.ro/