History of Architecture

    Eclectic Architecture
    Without being a stranger to the romantic spirit, eclecticism, especially in the forms specific to the French school academicism (Beaux-Arts academism), represents an independent moment, marked in the evolution of Romanian architecture and towns, especially in the former kingdom. Based on a "programme" of systematic gaining of the elements resultingfrom the analysis of different architectures, elements that it recomposes according to coherent historical principles, typologies characteristic to the destination of the building or of peculiar and stimulating associations, eclecticism rejoices great prestige in the last fifteen years of the 19th century. If, in the previous formal imports can be detected a certain anxiety, closely linked, of course, to the fact that they have been taken from intermediate sources (sometimes even modified) and to the immaturity of the local architectural production system, eclectic architecture appears strong and mature from its very beginnings, borrowed in a professional manner directly from its source. As the major force era of the eclectic architecture coincides with one of the peaks of the modern Romanian society’s construction, it can be stated that almost the entire institutional structure of the new state belongs to eclecticism. The most important eclectic public buildings were built in Bucharest, occupying key places in the city’s new urban conception, in connection with sectioning the great E-W and N-S boulevards and with modernizing Calea Victoriei. They were initially designed by French architects, later by Romanian architects, most of which being former students of Ecole de Beaux-Arts, a fact that helps maintaining the unity and continuity of style. Furthermore, the eclectic construction in itself is flexible enough to encompass various interpretations without any distortion.
    Some significant examples for the eclectic literature are the following public buildings: the old part of the National Bank (1883-1885, arch. Cassien Bernard, Albert Galleron and the sculptor Ioan Georgescu), the Romanian Athenaeum building (1886-1888, arch. Albert Galleron) and the art gallery on its posterior side (arch. Leonida Negrescu), The School of Bridges and Roads (after 1880, arch. Lecomte de Nouy, Cassien Bernard), The Palace of Justice (1890-1895, arch. A. Ballu, Ion Mincu worked on the interiors, as well), Ministry of Agriculture (1896, arch. Louis Blanc), The Institute of Medicine and Pharmacy (1900-1902, arch. Louis Blanc), The House of Savings and Deposits (1896-1900, arch. Paul Gottereau), The Post Palace (1900, arch. Alex. Săvulescu), The Stock Exchange Palace (1910, arch. Şt. Burcuş), The Chamber of Deputies and the Military Circle (the beginning of the 20th century, arch. Dimitrie Maimarolu), The Royal Foundations (finished in 1914, arch. Paul Gottereau) etc., in Bucharest, The Palace of Justice in Craiova (arch. Ion N. Socolescu), The National Theatre in Iaşi (1896, arch. Fellner and Helmer) etc.; as well as many residences, mostly luxurious: the Asan mansion and the Cantacuzino Palace (arch. I. D. Berindei), Monteoru house and Vernescu house (arch. Ion Mincu) etc., in Bucharest; Dinu Mihail Palace (arch. Paul Gottereau) in Craiova etc. Additionally, architectural eclecticism, having genetic, formative links to the technical eclecticism of the 19th century, many "engineering buildings" belong, in fact, to the same stylistic faction, such as the food halls (Unirea Food Hall – 1865-1870 and Traian Hall, arch. Giulio Magni – 1896, both in Bucharest, the halls in Ploiesti, arch. Toma T. Socolescu) and the railway stations in different towns (the old part of The Northern Railway Station, in Bucharest, the station in Burdujeni/Suceava, the station in Southern Ploiesti etc.), whose construction in great numbers was imposed by the economical development of the country. The Transylvanian eclecticism of this period is of a different type, closer to the Central European Baroque. The National Theatres in Cluj and Oradea (arch. Fellner and Helmer), University of Cluj (1872), The Palace of Culture in Cluj, the City Hall in Oradea (1899-904, arch. Kolmar Rimanoczy) and the one in Arad (1913, arch. Ludovic Szantary) are a few relevant examples.

Ana-Maria Zahariade