CRITICAL REVIEW

Born in Câmpulung, the chief-architect of the Romanian Patriarchate for over 30 years, he is the author of more than 400 architectural works. It is now an almost impossible task to identify the exact number of religious buildings or restoration and interior design projects traceable to Ionescu-Berechet; his descendants, who own an extensive personal archive, have begun the laborious process of valorising the numerous visual documents.

In his native town in Argeş County and in the surrounding areas alone there are over 90 villas, parochial houses, culture centres and monuments known to have been designed by him. His career shows two main stylistic trends: Ionescu-Berechet is first of all a founding contributor to the Neo-Romanian Style, visibly influenced by the vernacular architecture of his native region of Muscel and by the particular style of another architect, Cristofi Cerchez (1872-1955); during the interwar years he also designed some modernist-cubist buildings with Art Deco elements, commissioned by influential people from Câmpulung Muscel.   

Oana MARINACHE (2016)
 


IMAGES



    BIOGRAPHY

    (Câmpulung Muscel, January 27 / February 10, 1896 - Bucharest, July 1, 1969)
     
    Academic/specialized studies
    1916-? - He was admitted to the Superior School of Architecture in Bucharest, but had to leave for the front in 1917; he resumed his education in 1919 and graduated with a diploma in Architecture.
     
    Teaching activity (disciples and influence)
    He gave courses in “Christian Art” to the students in the workshops of the Romanian Patriarchate.  
     
    Professional activity: affiliations, administrative positions, committees
    1920-1922 - Planning-architect with the Ministry of Public Works.
    1922-1930 - Freelancer.
    ? - Member of the Historical Monuments Committee/ the Directorate for Historical Monuments.
    ? - Founding member of the Church Painting Committee of the Romanian Patriarchate.
    1930-1963 - Chief-architect of the Romanian Patriarchate, working mostly during the tenure of Patriarch Justinian (1948-1977). Even in such politically difficult times, hundreds of new churches were successfully built and thousand others were repaired, restored or repainted. The contribution made by Ionescu-Berechet, as member of the Historical Monuments Committee, as head of the Architectural Directorate within the Ministry of Culture, as creator and restorer, and as construction site supervisor must be rediscovered and reanalysed in the context of that difficult period.
    After 1963 - He worked as a freelancer for the Patriarchate Technical Fund and collaborated with the Metropolis of Moldavia and Suceava as well as with the Bishopric of Arad.
    1945-1948 - He headed the Architectural Directorate of the Ministry for Religious Denominations.  
     
    Other relevant information
    He was born into a merchant family, as the seventh son of Nae Gârniță (Ionescu Berechet) and Maria Popescu. In 1938 he married Eugenia Oancea, with whom he had two children, a son and a daughter. He is entombed in the crypt of Caşin Monastery in Bucharest, which is also his most important project in the city.  
     


    PROJECTS


    COMPLETED WORKS

    Religious architecture projects in Bucharest
    1931-1932 - Sf. Împăraţi Constantin şi Elena Church, 6 Mărgeanului Street, sector 5;
    1939 - Sf. Cornelie Sutaşul Church (Diham), 3 Brăneşti Street, sector 3, with works carried out by architects C. N. Simionescu and Gheorghe Naumescu;
    1936-1938, 1946-1959 - Caşin Church dedicated to the Holy Archangels, 16 Mărăşti Blvd., sector 1;
    1940-1942 - The new Sf. Vineri Church, 159 Nicolae Titulescu Blvd., Sector 1, with works carried out by T. Eremie undertaking;
    1942 - Toţi Sfinţii Church, 18 Hotin Street, sector 1;
    1943, 1946-1952 - Cuvioasa Paraschiva Church, Militari Neighbourhood, 24 Dreptăţii Street, sector 6, Alex. Mateescu enterprise;
    1944-1946 - Naşterea Maicii Domnului Church, Ghencea Neighbourhood, 107 Mărgeanului Street, sector 5, with Gr. Voiculescu as master craftsman;
    1946-1947 - Sf. Nicolae şi Sf. Miron Church, 1 Victor Daimaca Street, sector 1;
    1946-1948, 1968-1971 - Sf. Antonie cel Mare Church, Colentina Neighbourhood, 20 Trei Scaune Street, sector 2, with works carried out by architect Gheorghe Naumescu and engineer Luigi Cora;
    1948 - Cuvioasa Paraschiva Street, Mihai Bravu Neighbourhood, 18 Cerceluş Street, sector 3, Ionescu-Berechet completing the original project made by Dan Ionescu;
    1957-1958, 1975 - Sf. Spiridon Church, Ghencea Neighbourhood, 41 Ghencea Blvd., sector 6.
     
    Restoration projects
    1955-1958 - The Nuns’ Skete in 48 Mitropolit Antim Street, sector 4, Ionescu-Berechet coordinated the restoration of the nunnery, aided by Richard Liablich, engineer Dumitru Ionescu and master craftsmen Alfredo Mella and Ioan Bizon.
     
    Interior design projects
    He created numerous pieces of furniture, altarpieces, etc.
     
    Competitions. Awards and distinctions
    1919-1931 - As a veteran of the World War I, he was awarded the “Commemorative War Cross” (1919), the “Victoria” Medal (1924) and the “Sanitary Merit” Medal (1931).
    1928 - He received the award given by the Official Architecture Salon.
    1930 - The Order of the Orthodox Holy Sepulchre, awarded by Patriarch Damianos I of Jerusalem.
    1941 - The Cultural Merit for Religious Cults.
    1947 - Officer of the Order of the Crown.
    Beginning 1960 - He received a pension of merit from the Union of Romanian Architects. 
     


    BIBLIOGRAPHY

    Primary sources:
    STOICA, Lucia, IONESCU-GHINEA, Neculai, IONESCU, Dan D., ILIESCU, Petre, LUMINEA, Cecilia, GEORGESCU, Minerva, Istoria și arhitectura lăcașurilor de cult din București. Atlas-Ghid, Editura Universalia, 2006
     
    IONESCU-BERECHET, Ștefan, „Arhitectul Dimitrie Ionescu-Berechet (1896-1969)”, Part I in: Arhitext Design Magazine, no. 2/2013
    IONESCU, Dan D., „Arhitectul Dimitrie Ionescu-Berechet (1896-1969)” in: Arhitext Design Magazine, no. 4/2013.

    Webgraphy
    http://adevarul.ro/news/bucuresti/biserici-bucurestene-proiectate-arh-dimitrie-ionescu-berechet-1_51e18814c7b855ff563627ab/index.html
    http://arhitectura-1906.ro/2013/12/arhitectul-dimitrie-ionescu-berechet-in-campulung/
    http://arhivadearhitectura.ro/arhitecti/dimitrie-ionescu-berechet/
    http://asociatiaarhitectberechet.blogspot.ro/