Daily Picture 19-Jan-10: Glazed Stair Towers Art Deco Building

Art Deco - Modernist style building, designed by the architect Alexandru Zamphiropol in 1933. Domenii area, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

The architect has enlivened an apparent boring façade symmetry through the prominent use of glazed staircase towers (a large and rounded near-central one, balanced by a side angular shape tower). The whole composition mimics an ocean cruise liner (round windows, flag pole, large glazed surfaces), an important Art Deco style motif.

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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.

3 thoughts on “Daily Picture 19-Jan-10: Glazed Stair Towers Art Deco Building

  • Yes, it’s quite an expensive book — I bought it for myself as an indulgent Christmas present! I noticed the “nationalist” aspect of the introduction — odd, given that modernism is the “International Style”. Nevertheless, the book has an honored place on the shelf next to Denison’s stunning ASMARA: AFRICA’S SECRET MODERNIST CITY. I hope your blog does have the effect of helping to save and restoring Bucharest’s (and Romania’s) architectural heritage. PS The period photo of the apartment block shows the fence — it’s great that details like that also survive. The location does sound good — your photo shows what looks like another glazed angled staircase well, on the left of the block: perhaps there’s another interesting elevation for a future photo post?

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  • Thank you for your nice comment! “Romanian Modernism” by Machedon and Scoffham is indeed a classic in the field, although some reproach it a nationalist tinge (SC’s preface especially). I did not know that the building in my blogpost features there (the book being quite costly it has stayed consistently out of my reach, except occasional browsing in bookshops and text access on Google Books).
    The apartment block has drawn my attention because of its balanced, reduced to essence lines and excellent use of materials. It is located on the side of a circular square and it moulds itself like a crescent along the curvature of the square, a fact that enhances its personality even more. The street fence that delineates its small foreyard is also an Art Deco beauty.
    I went to a presentation of this book, delivered by Ernie Scoffham himself, sometimes in 2000 I think, at the French Institute in London and remember vividly his enthusiasm about discovering the Romanian modernist architecture; he spoke continuously for nearly two hours about the small hidden jewels of Bucharest inter-war modernist architecture. I hope to also slowly bring some of them to light (before they get knocked down by ignorant moneyed locals and their characterless developments) through this blog and through a planned book on local historic architecture :).

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  • This apartment block is a magnificent example of the style. There’s a period photo of it in ROMANIAN MODERNISM by Machedon & Scoffham, and your photo complements it well!

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