CRITICAL REVIEW


    The arrival of a young Carol Benisch in 1847 and his enrolment in the public service of Wallachia, as a monastery architect, together with the Swiss Johann Schlatter (1805-1864), marked a major step in the opening of the grand sites of religious institutions’ transformation, many of which were intended to be excluded from Greek monasteries’ property of the Ottoman Empire. Carol Benisch worked a significant part of his youth on this monastery sites (Bistrita, Tismana, Arnota) and then he started his activity in Bucharest. The main projects identified were aiming at the Bucharest churches’ repairs and at forming divisions and contractual conditions for the Faith Department’s public projects.
    For years in row (1857-1868) Benisch was engaged in maintaining and modernizing the Grand Theatre, after the inauguration of the edifice projected by the Viennese arch. Anton Hefft.
    His extensive experience and the prestige enjoyed in the public service made his involvement even more intense in the second half of the 19th century, by building the Doamna Elena Asylum, continuing the site of the St. Joseph Roman-Catholic Cathedral (for which he was decorated by the Holy See), the collaboration in the reconstruction of the Domnita Balasa Church and that of the Brancoveanu Hospital, of the Archdiocese of Tomis - The Sf. Ap. Petru si Pavel Cathedral in Constanta.
    His active presence, for more than half a century, and his involvement in the architectural education, as well as establishing the Romanian Architects Association turned Carol Benisch into one of the "founding fathers" of Bucharest’s modernization, an outstanding personality that has to be reinserted into the 19th century context. (Oana Marinache, 2015)

 


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    BIOGRAPHY


    (Krnov, January 9th 1822 - Bucharest, October 18th 1896; birth name: Karl Franz Böhnisch; the father of the architect Oscar Benis)
    Throughout time, his name underwent several changes, encountering different instances in writing: Carol or Scarlat Benisch, Carol Benesch and Carol Benis(u) (the Romanian form). Using the "Benisch" family name takes into account the way in which the architect’s name can found in all his signatures.
     
    Didactic activity:
    1891-1892 - Carol Benisch was a teacher at the first School of Architecture established by the arch. Alexandru Orascu, under the guardianship of the Romanian Society of Architects.
     
    Professional activity (affiliations, administrative positions, committees):
    ? - Deputy chief of the Faith Department and of the Technical Table;
    1891-1892 - Carol Benisch was a founding member and the first vice-president of the Romanian Society of Architects.
     


    PROJECTS


    Finished projects:
     
    Urban and landscape projects:
    1856-1863 - He realizes the Sfintirea Apelor de Boboteaza Pavilion.

    Architecture projects:
    1856 - He builds the I. Dobrovolski house in the Popa Darvasi Slum, Vopseaua Galbena, Bucharest;
    1857 - Co-signer of the Academy Palace plans (University) in Bucharest;
    1862 - Pavilions for the Evangelical Community: The Evangelical Deaconesses House in Bucharest for the Johanniter Order Foundation, Bucharest;
    1862 - The orphan girls’ asylum in Cotroceni, Bucharest;
    1866 - He designs the plans for the Avram Hotel on str. Bibescu Voda, Bucharest;
    1871 - He designs the placement plan of all the buildings in the Church and the Greek Inn complex which could be found on the streets Stavropoleos - Smardan - Lipscani, Bucharest;
    1872 - He realized the placement plan for the Sarindar Church, Bucharest;
    1873 - He undertakes small repairs of the Anghelovici houses on str. Brancoveneasca, Bucharest;
    1873 - He repairs the shop-house of Aga Vartan Hagaduri on Calea Mogosoaiei nr. 170, Bucharest;
    1880-1883 - He coordinates, on behalf of the Catholic Church Trustees, the works of the "St. Joseph" Roman-Catholic Cathedral, on str. Fontanei nr. 7, Manea Brutaru suburbia, Bucharest;
    1880-1885 - Engineer architect and chief of the works for the new "Doamna Balasa" Church of the Brancoveanu Settlements, a project co-signed by the arch. Friedrich Hartmann, Alex. Orascu, approved by André Lecomte de Nouy, Bucharest;
    1883 -1895 - The "Sfintii Ap. Petru si Pavel" Cathedral in Constanta, with Alex. Orascu, Constanta;
    1884 - Repairs of the Alexandru Plagino House in Calea Victoriei, today Dissescu House - The Institute of Art History and Theory, Bucharest;
    1890 - He builds his private home on str. Luminei/ Christian Tell, currently demolished, its ruined facades can still be observed, Bucharest.
     
    Restoring projects:
    The Tismana, Bistrita Valceana, Arnota Monasteries, the Metropolitan Church in Targoviste, the Metropolitan Church in Bucharest, Marcuta.
    1854 - By the order of the Ruler Barbu D. Stirbey, the repairs of the "St. John" Monastery complex were started, for which the architects Xavier Villacrose and Carol Benisch provided the estimates, the working conditions and the plans. The concerns were the inside monastery premises, the deposits, the bell tower.
    1878 - Benisch signed, with Alexandru Orascu, a report referring to the restoration of the Curtea de Arges Monastery, built by André Lecomte de Nouy.
     
    Interior projects:
    1857-1868 - The Architect of The Grand/ National Theatre, Bucharest;
    1860 - Inspects the former Grecescu houses under the Metropolitan Church and proposes a devise for interior repairs, Bucharest;
    1862 - Additions and repairs to the Costache Ghica houses next to the Cismigiu Garden, property leased by the Faith/Cults Department, Bucharest;
    1864 - Interior arrangements of the Metropolitan Public Assembly, Bucharest;
    1865 - Repairs and interior arrangements of the Cotroceni Summer Palace, Bucharest.
    He was part of various expertise committees of public constructions (the demolished Bucharest inns).
     
    Unfinished projects:
    The Metropolitan Church in Bucharest;
    The State Archives from Mihai Voda;
    1873 - The expansion of the Iancu Marghiloman houses on str. Amzei corner of str. Luminei, Bucharest.
     
    Titles and awards:
    ? - Knighted and granted a medal of the "St. Grigorie" Order by the Holy See for the works on the "St. Joseph" Roman-Catholic Cathedral.
     


    BIBLIOGRAPHY


    Oana Marinache, Carol Benisch, 50 de ani de arhitectura, Editura Istoria Artei, Bucuresti, 2015.
    Toma T. Socolescu, Fresca arhitectilor care au lucrat in Romania in epoca moderna de la 1800 la 1925, Editura Caligraf Design, Bucuresti, 2004.
    Horia Moldovan, Johann Schlatter: cultura occidentala si arhitectura romaneasca (1831-1866), Editura Simetria, Bucuresti, 2013.