Citadel Like Neo-Romanian Style House

An eloquent example of a Neo-Romanian style house from the 'citadel' phase/ period of this architectural style's development. The house dates from late 1920s. Armeneasca area, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

The Neo-Romanian architectural style, about which I wrote a popular article (link  here), had a number of distinct development phases during its nearly six decades lifespan from 1880s, when it was initiated by the architect Ion Mincu, until 1940s when it practically vanished as a style choice for new buildings, a consequence of reaching a dead end in terms of artistic-architectural expression in the new era of slender steel and concrete modernist buildings and also because the post-war communist regime perceived it as as an old bourgeois architectural style relic. The building above, which I photographed on a crisp, frost biting day this winter at minus-20 centigrade temperature, belongs to what I call the citadel phase of development for the Neo-Romanian style- its most spectacular period, that occurred between the mid-1920s and the mid-1930s. Its main inspiration model was the c17th – c18th fortified type house, called cula, of Oltenia yeomen (a social class between local aristocrats/ boyars and free peasants) in south-west Romania. The cula, was interpreted as a nationalist architectural metaphor of the centuries old resistance of the Romanian people against foreign invaders. The Great War, which was instrumental in the emergence of the citadel phase architecture, has been a very traumatic experience for Romania, a country that experienced defeat, occupation of most of its territory, but also exhilarating achievements like the occupation of Budapest, the enemy capital, and the doubling of its territory and population after the war. The Neo-Romanian architecture after the Great War, was thus developing on an excited collective psychological background of survivor-against-all-odds mentality, and the citadel like structures became the preferred chosen type for new buildings designed in the patriotic Neo-Romanian architectural style.  The edifice above is an eloquent example in that regard, where I also like the fact that even the tower roof finial has the shape of a mace, a fearsome medieval weapon, very much mentioned by the bards of the Romanian romantic poetry. See my article on Neo-Romanian roof finials and their significance/message- link here.

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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 Contactpage of this weblog.

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