Art Deco Details Grafted on Neo-Romanian House

A late 1930s Neo-Romanian style house with interesting Art Deco elements in the form of the imaginary crenature (functioning as balcony brim flowerpots) crowning the typical Neo-Romanian bastion like structure of the entrance assembly. Domenii area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Starting with the 1930s, the Neo-Romanian architectural style with its heavy citadel like structure and a burdensome decorative register inspired from late medieval Wallachian church and ethnographic motifs, entered its zenith, facing acute competition from the slender modern Art Deco and International Modernist styles that were becoming very popular in the Bucharest of that time.  As the patriotic local style, expressing the national identity in architecture, the order was not abandoned, but there were intense searches among the architects to adapt to the new conditions imposed by the modern decorative fashions and adopt the new construction materials, like reinforced concrete, steel and glass. One such interesting direction was the expression of the Neo-Romanian style in an Art Deco matrix. There were also rarer and captivating attempts to graft the International Modernist style on reduced to essential Neo-Romanian structures. The example above, which I photographed in an area of Bucharest developed mainly in late 1930s, presents such an example of a Neo-Romanian style house adopting Art Deco elements, which are imaginatively integrated, without creating an obvious contrast. The Neo-Romanian style retains the citadel like structure of the entrance area, with the arched stairway flanked by a Neo-Romanian type column and a square Byzantine floral panel. The Art Deco elements fall perfectly into place in this citadel like assembly by playing the role of the bastion crenature, in real life being the flowerpots adorning the brim of the balcony above the entrance stairs. In all, I think this is an interesting example of architectural evolution in an era of intense stylistic and technological transformations.

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I endeavor through this daily series of images and small articles to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural history and 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 sourcing 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.

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