CRITICAL REVIEW

D. Ionescu remains the architect of the Communal Society for Cheap Housing in Bucharest’s history of architecture, a position he held for over a decade, since 1938, when we find the first design plans bearing his signature, until 1948, when the authorities discontinue the Society. D. Ionescu followed Ion Țărușanu (1927-1936/1937) as the Society's architect, continuing Cornescu, Drumul Sării, Raion, Iancului parcelling, began by his predecessors, also signing the plans for new parcelling lots, such as Calea Lacul Tei, Echinocțiului and Maior Giurescu. During this period, the Society was led by director D. Stoica. In addition to these parcelling plans, D. Ionescu also signed plans for the expansion of Raion parcelling, beyond Mihai Bravu Blvd. (not completed). Besides the houses he built, architect D. Ionescu designed other projects in these parcelling lots, such as schools, kindergartens, churches (Sf. Fanurie in Raion Parcelling), and contributed to the landscaping of parks in some of these plots. From an architectural point of view, he continued Ion Țărușanu’s approach, a simplified Neo-Romanian style, without resorting to arch. Ioan D. Trajanescu’s and arch. D. Mohor’s typical ornaments. (Andrei Răzvan Voinea, 2016)
 


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    BIOGRAPHY

    Public Activity: affiliations, administrative positions, committees
    1936/1937-1948 - Architect of the Communal Society for Cheap Housing.
     
    Other relevant information
    Address: 96 Ghica Blvd.
     


    PROJECTS


    PROJECTS
     
    Urban planning and landscaping projects
    Completed Parcelling Lots:
    1936-1944 - Calea Lacul Tei Parcelling. The parcelling was designed in Sector I - Yellow, near the other two parcelling lots in the area, Cornescu Parcelling and Drumul la Tei Parcelling. Given the fact that the land available was much larger, the architect created a complex parcelling plan which included, besides houses, a park, a school, etc. He designed 10 types of houses (A, B, C, D, D1, E, F, the houses on the corner top T1, T2, T3), on the plot bounded by Lacul Tei Blvd., Județului St., Ghica Tei Blvd. and Scheiul de Sus St. The second stage (bounded by Maica Domnului St. and Teiul Doamnei St.) was not completed because the Society was discontinued (1948). On this land, the new authorities designed blocks of flats, as well as the Administration of Penitentiaries, MAI Typography, Emilia Irza Hospital, and the Faculty of Civil Engineering.
    1938 - Turbinei Extension in Cornescu Parcelling. In Cornescu Parcelling, D. Ionescu completed the project by designing 9 duplex house, on Turbinei Street (today). 
    1938 - Rahova Parcelling (addition). Originally, the parcelling had been initiated in 1914, when the first houses were build, using Ioan D. Trajanescu’s plans, and it was continued in 1928 by arch. Ion Țărușanu. The last stage is owed to D. Ionescu, who designed the last houses in the parcelling.
    1938-1944 - Drumul Sării Parcelling (stage three). The third stage bears the signature of D. Ionescu and engineer D. Stoica, the director of the Communal Society for Cheap Housing. One of the compositional elements most often used is the jetty (a setback wall), which marked the separation between two houses. Most probably, the architect D. Ionescu also designed the houses on Garofeanu Street, near Drumul Sării Parcelling. These houses were built by the Society for the Ministry of War.
    1938-1944 - Raion Parcelling (stage four). The longest expansion period of this parcelling dates from this period. The parcelling plan demonstrates the eastward expansion (between Dristorului St. and Bd. Mihail Bravu), which almost doubled the number of houses built to that date. Arch. D. Ionescu signed both the parcelling plans, and the design of the standard houses. On the empty square on Cerceluș St. (current name), in 1943 they decided to build a church (belonging to Mihai Bravu Parish), designed by D. Ionescu and erected with the contribution of the local residents. The church was built later, under other plans (signed by Dimitrie Ionescu-Berechet). Initially, the streets in the parcelling were named after towns in Bessarabia (Ismail, Reni, Leova, etc.), but after 1948 these names were changed. According to oral testimonies, the parcelling was about to be completely demolished at the end of the 1980s, to allow the construction of Unirii Blvd.
    1939 - Maior Giurescu Parcelling. This parcelling comprises four standard houses, but most probably the parcelling plans were more extensive, and it is located on Apele Minerale Street, currently Ion Minulescu, intersecting Scorțeni Alley.
    1939 - Echinocțiului Parcelling. The project was approved no earlier than 1939 (although the approval process had started in 1934). The land plots had a surface of 200 sq. m., and according to the notification the Society sent to the City Hall, the houses had to be at least 8 metres high, and the width of Gafton Lazăr Alley was changed, as well, as it was supposed to measure 8.5 metres. In 1935, the project was approved ’’on condition that those in charge of the parcelling works provided, on the parcelled streets, a water supply network, sewerage, public and private lighting, underground cable, sidewalks with asphalt pavement and granite curbs and, on the road, granite pavement over a concrete layer, filling the joints with mastics.” There are 14 houses designed by D. Ionescu, similar to those he previously designed in Iancului, Sf. Vineri, and Raion Parcelling.
    1939-1946 - Iancului 2 Parcelling. Simultaneously with building the houses in Parcul Iancului 1, the Society decided to parcel the land east of the Zefirul Factory and continue to build cheap houses. Thus, during 1935-1938, the Society built the houses between Șoseaua Iancului and Grigore Gabrielescu St. (plans signed by Ion Țărușanu), while the others were built during 1939-1946, bearing Dan Ionescu’s signature. Their typology suggests that they were probably built between 1941-1943, when they designed standard houses separated by a wall (setback), a detail which characterized D. Ionescu’s style during 1941-1943, and that was used by the Society in other parcelling lots as well, such as Drumul Sării or Calea Lacul Tei. Street names were decided in December 1940, and until then they were identified by letters (A-H). Thus, street A became George Folescu (opera singer), street B was named Jean Athanasiu (baritone), street C became Grigore Gabrielescu, street D is called Ion Băjenaru, street E is currently named Nicolae Leonard (a tenor called ’’the operetta prince”), and street F is Traian Grozăvescu (a tenor born in Lugoj, with a remarkable international success). 
     
    Parcelling not completed:
    Besides the implemented parcelling, the Society designed a number of parcelling lots which have not been implemented, and the most important was the expansion of Raion Parcelling beyond Mihai Bravu Blvd., signed by D. Ionescu in the 1940s.
    Parcul Raion - Mihail Bravu extension – The initial plan included building houses on Magatti and Gheorghe Petrașcu Streets (today), and the entire parcelling plan involved the land bounded by Ștefan S. Nicolau St. - Baba Novac St.- Mihai Bravu Blvd.
     


    BIBLIOGRAPHY

    Primary Sources:
    National Archives: Ministry of Public Works Fund, CTS, 146/1937.
    Bucharest City Hall Archives: PMB Technical, 58/1934, 86/1939, 253/1938 (III Blue), 400-421/1938 (III Blue)
     
    Secondary Sources:
    VOINEA, Andrei Răzvan, DOLGHIN Dana, Rubrica De locuit și povestit, 2012-2015, available online http://atelier.liternet.ro/arhivarubricii/136/De-locuit-si-povestit.html
    Memorial plaque, Sf. Fanurie Church, Cerceluș St.