A Critical Synthesis?
At the same time, the tolerant and syncretic character of Romanian modernism also allows an interesting reconciliation (both theoretical and formal) with the original quest for a national spirit in architecture. Generally speaking, in small-scale projects (residence buildings, clubs etc.), architects such as, mainly, Octav Doicescu, the foremost representative of this stylistic trend (U.C.B. neighbourhood, the library and nautical club in Bucharest’s Herăstrău Park, many villas, etc.) but also Henriette Delavrancea-Gibory, Ion Boceanu, Horia Creangă, Duiliu Marcu etc. create, without ostentation, a picturesque brand of modernism punctuated by vernacular elements. Apart from its indisputable architectural merits, what makes this type of design more notable than a mere shrewd compromise (which may be what the avant-garde thought of it) is an incipient underlying theory. Theoretically speaking, the expression of this reconciliation is also to be found in Arhitectura magazine, in the pages written by Florea Stănculescu (who, at a certain point, was the editor of the magazine), but especially in the original critical theory developed by G. M. Cantacuzino. He claims that a true national brand of architecture cannot be created until Romanian architecture has fully taken in the lesson of functionalism, which he sees as a method imposed by the zeitgeist, but which must be filtered through tradition. The latter especially places these apparently minor quests in a sphere we might call today critical regionalism; future research will confirm or infirm this hypothesis.