CRITICAL REVIEW

Dimitrie Mohor’s architecture has been recently analyzed by architect Ruxandra Nemţeanu, in her study „Vila în stil neo-românesc”, in which the author dedicates the subchapter „Modelul economic al locuințelor ieftine și imaginea «tip» neoromânească” (’The economic model of cheap housing and the "typical" Neo-Romanian image’) to an analysis of the architects Dimitrie Mohor and Florea Stănculescu’s projects, in terms of their involvement in designing standard housing for vulnerable social classes. Dimitrie Mohor succeeded Ioan D. Trajanescu as architect of the Communal Society for Cheap Housing, for which he designed numerous standard houses in Neo-Romanian style and contributed to the parceling plans for at least seven cheap housing parceling lots. The files in the National Archives and the Bucharest City Hall show the architect’s fruitful activity in this position he was assigned in 1914, at the latest, and completed around 1922, which consisted in designing schools, nursing homes for women who had recently given birth, kindergartens, as well as a Carpentry Factory, in these parceling lots. Dimitrie Mohor belongs to the generation that materialized national thinking in architecture, and he owes his approach to the Neo-Romanian style developed mainly as a result of state orders, which was one of the fundamental characteristics of the Communal Society for Cheap Housing ever since its establishment in 1910.
We note, first of all, an emphasis on the defining elements of Neo-Romanian style when compared to his predecessor Ioan D. Trajanescu, which is easily identifiable especially in the houses found in Dorobanți division (Brazilia street). D. Mohor ensured the uniformity of the neighborhood through the use of common elements in the design of each house, despite the diversity of composition (the houses have different number of rooms), the position of the building on the plot (further back from the street or lining it) or the layout of the plot in the plot plan (on the corner or between other plots). The dialogue that architect D. Mohor proposes in the square is remarkable: the urban composition generated by the four bay windows of the houses in the corners of the square, together with the other two further back buildings, gives privacy to the planned space. On Washington Street, they built type F houses (numbers 38 and 36) that were characterized by discreet buttresses on the main facade, a symmetrical composition, and the design of entries on the side facades, where the upstairs wood pavilion is also placed. Some of the most common elements of the Neo-Romanian style include loggias, bay windows and three-lobed arch or semicircular windows. Referring to the house on 14 Maramureș Street, built in 1914, arch. Ruxandra Nemţeanu emphasized that: "the decoration is formal and follows the models already encountered at the great masters ... it is one of the most modest and stereotypical villas of the style: all the elements of the Neo-Romanian vocabulary are placed according to the rules of this style, but without personality and expressiveness. Architect Mohor’s stylistic repertoire is obviously taken from compositions of Neo-Romanian architect Paul Smărăndescu, but lacking the luster of the latter’s works. " (Andrei Răzvan Voinea, 2016)
 


IMAGES



    BIOGRAPHY

    (1883? - ƚ?)
    Married, had a son, Ionel Mohor.
     
    Academic/specialized studies
    ? - 1911 - Special School of Architecture in Paris *
     
    Professional Activity (affiliations, administrative positions, committees)
    1912-1922 - He collaborated with the Communal Society for Cheap Housing, probably as chief-architect or consultant.
     


    PROJECTS


    COMPLETED PROJECTS

    Urban planning and landscape projects
    1912-1921 (?) - Zablovschi parceling (started in 1912 and probably completed in 1921, when we find the last plans bearing his signature), planned on Mihail Cornea (today Gala Galaction) and Eng. Zablovschi streets. On an area of 37,400 sq. m., the Communal Society for Cheap Housing designed 66 duplex houses (therefore 132 individual houses) and a school (today kindergarten no. 42). The streets occupied 5,800 sq. m.  (15.5%), and the average area of the plots was 200 sq. m.  The houses in this division were designed by D. Mohor together with Ioan D. Trajanescu in several stages, some plans of the houses on Mihail Cornea street (today Gala Galaction), 9-11 Mihail Cornea  (construction permit – October 10, 1921) and 17 Mihail Cornea (construction permit - May 4, 1921).
    1914 - Lăzureanu parceling – Căzărmii. The parceling plan is dated March 3, 1914 and signed by D. Mohor and the director of Communal Society for Cheap Housing (CSCH), Andrei G. Ioachimescu. This project was ordered by the Ministry of War, for which CSCH designed 17 houses (E, E1, E2, E3 types), of which 16 were duplex and 1 individual. It is one of the few parceling plans where the house are not surrounded by gardens and were designed on a sloped lot. Systematization of the 1980s led to the complete demolition of this parceling to make way for the new civic center.
    1916-1921 - Dorobanți parceling: the parceling plan is dated 1914 and bears the signatures of arhitect D. Mohor and engineer Andrei G. Ioachimescu, the director of Communal Society for Cheap Housing. Numerous types were designed for the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of War and it was built in two stages. The first stage consisted in erecting 8 buildings, in 1916, when Romania entered World War I, for the Ministry of Finance, and the second stage took place from 1920 to 1921, when the company required approval from the City Hall _msocom_1">[A1] (October 16, 1920) for three buildings type F, this time for the Ministry of War. Initially, this division was supposed to comprise 60 standard houses, but the war put an end to the initiative, and the designers were forced to continue their work on the neighborhood at the end of hostilities, limiting the construction of standard housing to Lisabona, Braziliei and Washington streets. The houses in the second stage are characterized by frequent use of the defining elements of Neo-Romanian style, such as the wooden posts of the pavilions, buttresses, bay windows, etc.
    1914-1944 - Raion parceling. It was initiated in 1914 by the Communal Society for Cheap Housing, on the plot on Gura Lupului street, but it developed remarkably only after 1927 when it expanded to the streets bounded by Miletin st. – Cogâlnic st. – Cerceluș st. - Diligenței st. (between Piața Alba Iulia and Bd. Mihail Bravu). The first stage, to which arch. D. Mohor had a great contribution, includes the houses on Ismail and Vâlcov (today Rodiei), particularly types B and F. This parceling also comprised the garden for children (1922) on Vâlcov street (today Raion street), which is in an advanced state of decay.
    1914-1921 - Drumul Sării parceling. The planning of this parceling started in 1914 on Negel and Caranda street, but it was completed in stages: between 1914 and 1916, in 1921 (when the parceling plan was done, noting that the housing plan was signed by D. Mohor), the third stage between 1938-1944, and the last one in 1952. Architect D. Mohor was involved only in the first two, even though the parceling plan was signed by arch. Fr. Reiss. In July 1921, the construction of 10 buildings of 2 apartments, type B, was decided, using D. Mohor’s plans. The parceling was designed for the Ministry of War.
    1922 - Cornescu parceling. The Communal Society for Cheap Housing planned this parceling in 1922, but it was built in stages. Arch. D. Mohor contributed only during the first part, designing the type E buildings on 28-30 Calea Floreasca (according to construction permit on May 9, 1922). Besides these houses, in this division, a school for the Orthodox Society of Romanian Women, as well as the Nails Factory of the Communal Society for Cheap Housing had already been built. The parceling originally had an area of 37.800 sq. m., the streets occupied 17% (6.450 sq. m.), and there were 94 land plots.
    1922 - Verzișori-Tăbăcari parceling. Bounded by Aristizza Romanescu, Petre Liciu, Bd. Tăbăcari and Verzișori streets, this parceling was planned by the Communal Society for Cheap Housing, for civil servants, and it was called Tanners Quarter at the time. Besides housing, there was also a plan for a nursing home for women who had recently given birth. The application of November 20, 1922, concerned the construction of 6 apartments, type E, and 8 type B. The division was completed in 1927, as evidenced by aerial photographs of the year.
     
    Architectural projects:
    1914 - Eliza Stravolca House, Calea Plevnei*;
    ? - I.N. Duiculescu House, 14 Maramureșului Street*.
     


    BIBLIOGRAPHY

    Main sources:
    PMB Archives: PMB Technical Fund, files 386/1916, 64/1920, 133/1921, 247/1915, 154/1921
    National Archives : 143/1923

    Secondary sources:
    POPESCU, Carmen, Le style national roumain, Rennes: 2004.
    *NEMȚEANU, Ruxandra, Vila în stil neo-românesc, with a Preface by Prof. dr. Arh. Anca Brătuleanu
    București: Simetria, 2012.
    SFINȚESCU, Cincinat, „Societatea Comunală pentru Locuințe Eftine și realizările ei”, in: Revista Urbanismul, 1933.
    VOINEA, Andrei Răzvan, DOLGHIN, Dana, Rubrica De locuit și povestit, 2012-2015, available on-line http://atelier.liternet.ro/arhivarubricii/136/De-locuit-si-povestit.html