History of Architecture

    Romania: A fake destalinisation?

     It is in the years of de-Stalinization that the circular architecture of the Exhibition Pavilion, in Piața Scânteii was promoted. The pavilion’s first cupola clashed down, and so did the architects’ hope in a high-tech East-European architecture. Hundreds of buildings were raised in Bucharest then. The “cosmic” enthusiasm of those times which, in the West, was to yield an explosion of architectural utopias - was matched here only by the flying saucer which landed on the main administrative building of the Polytechnic Institute, which was designed by a team coordinated by the inter-war architect Octav Doicescu. The only other example is the above-mentioned RomExpo Pavilion, designed by Professor Ascanio Damian. The Polytechnic Institute has been a remarkable effort of freeing the modern language from its stereotypes and of creating non-emphatic monumental edifices, unique buildings, articulated in a coherent urban image.
     It is also during that period that a building was raised which materializes one of the most successful Eastern European echoes of the concept of megastructure, viz. the edifice of the late school of the Communist Party, once called the “Ștefan Gheorghiu” Academy. The stolid volumes of the amphitheaters, detached from the rest of the building are individually plugged-in the ensemble.
     The building of the “Stefan Gheorghiu” Academy is placed in the immediate proximity of the Cotroceni Palace. It was built at the end of the previous century for King Ferdinand and Queen Maria, under the direct guidance of the latter. In the communist times the palace was emptied of its period furniture and decorations, and became the Pioneers’ Palace. The earthquake in 1977 brings damages to the palace. It is restored and completed by architect Nicolae Vlădescu, in order to become the residence of the communist high-life. It is a good quality restoration considering the epoch when it took place, although some of the architect’s interpretations of the documents after which the restoration took place have been criticized. The neo-Romanian hall, designed by architect Grigore Cerchez, as well as part of the interior and furniture designed after the flamboyant drawings of Queen Maria rank among the attractions of Cotroceni Museum. Nowadays the Palace is the Presidency headquarters.

Augustin Ioan, 2017