CRITICAL REVIEW


    For more than 50 years spent in the technical service of the City Hall, at the university department, in the Historical Monuments Committee, in the Department of Posts and in the Romanian Architects Society, Grigore P. Cerkez fundamentally marked the Romanian architecture history. Having a vast background and experience in constructions, Grigore Cerkez filled countless positions as an engineer-architect, restorer, professor, expert and good organizer of the services of various public institutions.  
    The centre of Bucharest encountered profound urban transformations along with the sewage system of Dambovita, the building of communal schools, the establishment of the institutions and the construction of public edifices such as theaters, museums, universities, garden arrangements, and the construction of the main streets. Therefore, his name is linked to the first Mixed School, Clementa, The Comedy/Odeon Theatre, The Antipa Museum, the School of Architecture or the Academy of Economic Studies.
    If the first period of his career was profoundly influenced by his studies abroad, realizing works of a neo-classic, eclectic and neo-gothic style, the years after 1906 brought about stylistic diversity, his creation thriving with emblematic works in a national style.  
    The expansion of the Royal Palace in Cotroceni and the arrangement of its interiors remains one of the works of reference in his career.
    The patronage of some important politicians, military personalities or representatives of the high aristocracy (Lahovary, Cantacuzino, Niculescu-Dorobantu) got Grigore P. Cerkez countless orders for private residences. Through his mother, Elisa, the daughter of Iancu/Ioan Lahovary (1786-1854), steward of Valcea, Grigore P. Cerkez was the first cousin of important politicians and military men of the Lahovary family, who ordered their residences in the city center. Furthermore, their matrimonial alliances with the Niculescu-Dorobantu family got the architect other orders, two houses in Bucharest, a mansion and a funerary monument in Bellu.
    Starting in 1911, Gheorghe Grigore Cantacuzino (1832-1913) and his family members became Grigore Cerkez’ commissioners. On the Zamora estate the Cantacuzino castle was to be raised, and, in Bucharest, the dependencies of the residence in Calea Victoriei started to be built, across the House with Lions where it was also being built the apartment building owned by Nicolae G. Cantacuzino.
    Another important personality was Mihail Sutu (1841-1933), historian and numismatist who requested from arch. Cerkez both the house in Bucharest, as well as the villa in Constanta.
Among the owners of some houses designed by arch. Cerkez the names of the general Heraclie Arion, of the jurist Ioan Manu, of the general Algiu or that of Constantin Iarca are worthy to be mentioned.
    As it was to be expected, the architect also designed two houses for his brothers, Nicu (1851-1927) and Ion Cerkez (1847-1921). (Oana Marinache, 2015)
 


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    BIOGRAPHY


    (1850 - Bucharest, 1927)
     
    Academic/specialized studies:
    1870 - 1873 - Central School of Arts and Crafts, Paris. He graduated with an engineer-constructor diploma.          
     
    Didactic activity:
    1875 - He taught the first course of elementary mechanics at the Military School;
    1880 - 1920 - Topography, technology and construction professor at the School of Bridges and Roads.
    1897 - Professor at the Superior School of Architecture.
     
    Professional activity (affiliations, administrative positions, committees):
    1873 - Engineer in the Ministry of Public Works (M.L.P.);
    1874 - 1879 - Chief-Engineer of the Capital;
    1876 - Member of the Society of Architects and Engineers;
    1886-1888 - Member in the Consultative Technical Committee of the Athenaeum;
    1881 - Member of the Polytechnic Society;
    1889 - Member in the Administrative Council of C.F.R (Romanian Railways) and of the Romanian Society of Constructions and Public Works;
    1891 - Architect of M.L.P.;
    1891 - Member of the Romanian Architects Society;
    1892 - Member of the Technical Council of M.L.P.;
    1892 - Member of the jury in the Central Railway contest;
    1905 - 1908 - General Manager of the Posts;
    1900, 1913 - 1927 - Member of the Historical Monuments Committee;
    1913 - 1918 - The President of the Romanian Architects Society.
     


    PROJECTS


    Finished projects
    Urban and landscaping projects:
    1875 - The sewage system of the Icoana Garden, Bucharest;
    1880-1883 - The sewage system of Dambovita, Bucharest;
    1883 - He realizes the systematization plan of Bucharest on the occasion of constructing the Dambovita sewage system;
     
    Architecture projects (selection):
    1876-1877 - The first mixed school, Clementa, Bucharest;
    1878 - Poenarescu School, Bucharest (transformed into the School of Arts and Crafts);
    1882 - "M. Sutu" house, Bucharest;
    1883 - "General H. Arion" house, Bucharest;
    1889 - "Sichleanu" house (today Grand Cafe Galleron), Bucharest;
    1897-1898 - "Ion P. Cerkez" house, Bucharest;
    1904-1908 - The Antipa/Zoological Museum, Bucharest (facades);
    1906-1910 - "Emil N. Lahovary" house, Bucharest (currently, The Indonesian Embassy);
    1910 - "Iarca" house, Bucharest (the former Royal Palace; today, the Eximbank headquarters);
    1910-1911 - The Comedy/Odeon Theater, Bucharest;
    1911 - "Emil N. Lahovary" house (today, Ramada Majestic Hotel);
    1911 - "I. Niculescu-Dorobantu" house, Bucharest;
    1911-1913 - "Dr. Herescu" house, Bucharest (together with arch. Alex. Clavel);
    1912-1927 - School of Architecture, Bucharest;
    1913-1915 - "Ioan Manu" Palace, Bucharest;
    1924-1926 - Academy of High Commercial and Industrial Studies, Bucharest (facades; project realized by arch. Edmond van Saanen-Algi, entrepreneur Gr. G. Cerkez).
     
    Restoring projects:
    1881 - Resch house, expansion interventions and repairs;
    1908-1912 - Dissescu house, modification, together with arch. Alex. Clavel;
    1907-1908 - Zlatari Church, Bucharest;
    1912 - The Church with Saints/Sybils, Bucharest;
    1913 - Bucur Church, Bucharest.
     
    Funeral monuments:
    ? - Zoe Vlahuti-Slatineanu Chapel, Bellu Cemetery, lot 61-110;
    ? - Niculescu-Dorobantu Tomb, Bellu Cemetery, lot 3.
     
    Interior projects:
    1912-1913, 1915, 1925-1926 - Cotroceni Palace, expansion of the north side, interior arrangements.
     


    BIBLIOGRAPHY


    Author volumes:
    NOICA, Nicolae, Traditii romanesti in constructiile de lucrari publice, Editura All, Bucuresti, 1997.
    Traseu urban Grigore si Nicolae P. Cerkez, Editura Istoria Artei, Bucuresti, 2013.
     
    Periodicals:
    #"Arhitectura" Magazine
     
    Webgraphy:
    http://grigorecerkez.blogspot.ro/