Daily Picture 7-Dec-09: Bucharest Art Deco Public Conveniences

Art Deco style public conveniences structure dating from mid 1930s when the most extensive infrastructure improvement of Romania's capital took place. Izvor area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Bucharest is a city of 3 million inhabitants (including the non-registered residents) with just a handful of public conveniences. Today, the local McDonald’s network of restaurants seems to offer the only decent such public facility in this large urban agglomeration. Back in 1930s the city was much better provided and served in that respect, by the vast infrastructure modernisation works undertaken during the reign of King Carol II. Public conveniences were some of the best achievements of that time and these were built according to a standardised pattern as the one presented in the image above: an Art Deco style pergola made from a reinforced concrete structure. Because of the lack of funds and interest from the city authorities, most of these architecturally noticeable facilities, which survived the five decades of communist administration, are now closed or demolished. The structure above was repainted, cleaned and re-decorated because of the recent inauguration of the Holocaust Memorial of the Romanian Jews, which is located nearby. The local Bucharest officials in a true East European communist fashion spruced up the surrounding area, including these former public conveniences, in order to make a good impression on the foreign diplomats and journalists who participated at the event.

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I endeavor through this daily image series to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural heritage.

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If you plan acquiring a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in locating the property, specialist research, planning permissions, restoration project management, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.

9 thoughts on “Daily Picture 7-Dec-09: Bucharest Art Deco Public Conveniences

  • “Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are
    presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new
    evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is
    extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it
    is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize,
    ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit in with the core belief.”
    ― Frantz Fanon………………………..This sounds like you Valentin!

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    • I have to say that I am a bit amused by your smug use of a quotation from Frantz Fanon. Actually to put you in the right direction regarding Fanon and his work, he refers there to colonialism and its perpetrators, category with which you seem to empathise at least, if not more. Using out of context citations, Youtube videos to further your arguments, are just smokescreens of discutable quality that do not make much impression even to the less informed public.

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  • ” The structure above was repainted, cleaned and re-decorated because of the recent inauguration of the Holocaust Memorial of the Romanian Jews,”……………………..No mention of the destruction of that pretty garden square that proudly stood before that sick eyesore that is now there…the Holohoax memorial.

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    • There is a case to be made from the destruction of that park, indeed, as the town has just a handful of those essential spaces. However, the Holocaust memorial’s emplacement is well chosen. Why is that, first, there was need of such a memorial, in a country that had perpetrated this heinous crime, and which consistently denied and in many parts of the society continues to deny it, and second, and here I come to your point, one of the best places for such a memorial would have been close or next to the Romanian repressive institutions that in large part have instrumented the Holocaust, such as the Municipal Police headquarters and the former Interior Ministry building, an edifice still hosting a scion of that institution. Thus the place of the memorial is where it has to be, to draw the attention to the arrogant among Romanians, of their past crimes. The sacrifice of a park, which was full of excrement of the Bucharest dwellers is a small price to pay in that regard!
      Regarding the artistic value of the memorial, that is unfortunately another consequence of the lack of education, class and grace of the so-called designers, architects that were formed by the communists and post-communists, which hopefully will be pushed out of the market as the society becomes increasingly more aware of the value and meaning of the proper artistic aesthetics.
      PS I notice in the video, which you included in your comment, edited out by me, that you allude about using the Holocaust as just another instrument to further one’s objectives. My strong belief is that you are a closeted anti-semite with that kind of publicistic trick, and I am glad that the Holocaust memorial has at last been put in place, with all of its design shortcomings, to remind continously people like you of those crimes!

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