Why I am closing down the Facebook page Historic Houses of Romania

I am closing down my over 7 years old Facebook page called Historic Houses of Romania – Case de Epoca, which contains the richest and best structured collection of images and opinions available on any social media network, anywhere, about the historic architecture of Romania, with considerations on that phenomenon in southeast Europe. I had to take that step because of vicious online (so far) attacks from Romanian nationalists and populists, who insists lecturing me their crooked version of history, and hating my international and multicultural approach in dealing with the architectural history of Romania and southeast Europe. The page represents over seven years of arduous work, thousands of kilometres walking and doing fieldwork and research, which attracted about 14,000 followers from all over the world (over 1/3 were non-Romanian speakers), and surely I am quite sad to close it, but there is no alternative under this deluge of nationalist attacks, which seem to become the fashion in Europe and the US. I identified the problem in becoming such a target in the name of the page, “Historic Houses of Romania”, the title containing the particle “Romania”, which for many in this country, educated in the crude tradition of national-communism see it as a sort of exclusive property of theirs, its role being assumed as nothing more than a nationalist propaganda mouthpiece, its multicultural approach and methodology perceived as a threat, not conforming to their perverse worldview. That is why I have set up a new page, called “Valentin Mandache, architectural historian”, hoping to avoid such unwanted attention, and where you are kindly invited to follow me: https://www.facebook.com/vmarchitecturalhistorian/

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My aim, through this series of blog articles, is to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania and Southeast Europe, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of world’s architectural history and heritage.

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If you have a historic house project in Romania or other country in Southeast Europe, I would be delighted to advise you in aspects pertaining to its architectural history and ways to preserve as much as possible from its period fabric and aesthetics in the course of restoration or renovation works, or to counsel you with specialist consultancy work related to that project. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this website.

Considerations on the Wallachian architectural style (aka Brancovan)

The Wallachian style, is a highly original architecture and decorative arts design, which developed within the confines of the Principality of Wallachia, a Christian protectorate of the Ottoman Empire, during the period of stability and prosperity of this great state between the late 17th c and throughout the 18th c. It is a synthesis between local Byzantine traditions, together with Islamic ones, at which is added European Baroque and Renaissance elements. The style is usually named Brancovan or Brancovenesc, which in my opinion is incorrect, not properly and precisely reflecting its geographical and civilisational locus in Wallachia. This video details for you this important chapter of the arts and architecture of the early modern southeast Europe, which has been crucial for the development of the the later Neo-Romanian style, the national style of Romania.

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My aim, through this series of blog articles, is to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania and Southeast Europe, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of world’s architectural history and heritage.

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If you have a historic house project in Romania or other country in Southeast Europe, I would be delighted to advise you in aspects pertaining to its architectural history and ways to preserve as much as possible from its period fabric and aesthetics in the course of restoration or renovation works, or to counsel you with specialist consultancy work related to that project. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this website.

The metal roofing of the Little Paris style houses

A Little Paris style house, the provincial, western inspired architecture of Bucharest and many urban centres of the La Belle Epoque Romania, is as, a norm, provided with metallic roofing; sheets of metal seamed together, giving it a peculiar modern aspect for those times. This type of roofing is exceedingly safer in case of fire, compared with the traditional wooden shingle roofing of Bucharest houses. That material were highly inflammable, contributing to devastating fires, culminating with the Great Fire of 1847. That event made the authorities and the locals to look for safer materials. The change of architectural tastes from provincial Ottoman to Little Paris, was another reason for adopting the metal roofing. That became widely adopted only when the metal sheet materials for roofing became cheaper and accessible, which has happened after 1879, once the railway to the Habsburg town of Brasov was opened, and the products of the industrialised Austro-Hungary penetrated Bucharest’s and Romania’s markets. This video details this contorted process reflected in the mass adoption of metal sheet roofing for the urban dwellings of Little Paris style architecture in Romania’s capital.

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My aim, through this series of blog articles, is to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania and Southeast Europe, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of world’s architectural history and heritage.

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If you have a historic house project in Romania or other country in Southeast Europe, I would be delighted to advise you in aspects pertaining to its architectural history and ways to preserve as much as possible from its period fabric and aesthetics in the course of restoration or renovation works, or to counsel you with specialist consultancy work related to that project. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this website.

Why the ocean liner theme characterises the Art Deco architecture of Bucharest?

I noticed, from my field trips, that Bucharest’s 1930s Art Deco architecture is characterised in an ample proportion by the ocean liner theme, in much larger degree than other capitals in central and southeast Europe. Why was that the case for a town at over 200 km distance from a seashore, and from a region and country that was landlocked for much of its history, without a seafaring tradition? There were a series of captivating economic, social, and sentimental/ emotional factors and personalities at play, which concurred in producing that result, detailed in this video.

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My aim, through this series of blog articles, is to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania and Southeast Europe, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of world’s architectural history and heritage.

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If you have a historic house project in Romania or other country in Southeast Europe, I would be delighted to advise you in aspects pertaining to its architectural history and ways to preserve as much as possible from its period fabric and aesthetics in the course of restoration or renovation works, or to counsel you with specialist consultancy work related to that project. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this website.

A glorious Neo-Romanian style house in Ploiesti – Casa Radu Stanian

In this video I present the impressive mature phase Neo-Romanian style architecture Radu Stanian House in Ploiesti, 60 km north of Bucharest. The edifice is the result of three stages of construction, from before, then after the Great War, and in the 1930s. It used to house the marriage registry office of the town in the communist period and the 1990s. Today is in a derelict state, in grave danger of being irremediably damaged or even lost.

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My aim, through this series of blog articles, is to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania and Southeast Europe, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of world’s architectural history and heritage.

***********************************************

If you have a historic house project in Romania or other country in Southeast Europe, I would be delighted to advise you in aspects pertaining to its architectural history and ways to preserve as much as possible from its period fabric and aesthetics in the course of restoration or renovation works, or to counsel you with specialist consultancy work related to that project. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this website.

CIA and KGB spying on each other in Bucharest

There can be made interesting connections between the Cold War spying and Bucharest’s historic architecture, and no better spot to do that is the site of the former US Embassy, a La Belle Epoque architecture compound, right behind the Intercontinental hotel, which used to host CIA operatives during the decades before 1989, and what was across the road from it, the former Association for Strengthening the Relationships with the USSR (ARLUS- the acronym in Romanian), a beautiful ocean liner themed Art Deco edifice, which offered a good watching post their KGB counterparts. To complete the set, there is in between them a Mediterranean style house, where the Romanian Securitate people were watching both the Soviet and American activities going on in those strange times. I have been a student in the 1980s right in that area, my faculty being next to the US Embassy, and felt on a daily basis the heavy atmosphere imprinted by that unusual Cold War situation.

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My aim, through this series of blog articles, is to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania and Southeast Europe, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of world’s architectural history and heritage.

***********************************************

If you have a historic house project in Romania or other country in Southeast Europe, I would be delighted to advise you in aspects pertaining to its architectural history and ways to preserve as much as possible from its period fabric and aesthetics in the course of restoration or renovation works, or to counsel you with specialist consultancy work related to that project. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this website.

Presenting my brand new voice amplifier

An important part of my architectural education work is the guided tours on architectural styles, historic houses, heritage architecture areas of Bucharest, Romania and southeast Europe. The tours are by their nature conducted outdoors, in the midst of the community, with people getting about their business in noise generating cars, buses, trains, roadworks, etc. and is often hard to project my voice for the benefit of the participants to listen comfortably to the information I provide. That is why I have equipped myself with a voice amplifier, which will improve the delivery of my specialist speeches. The device is called “Smart”, designed by Voice Amplifier of Israel, a heavy duty voice amplifier from a country with a rich experience dealing with cultural tours, and came to me as a birthday present, which is next month, from my brother’s family in Canada- reflecting a truly global network, which is also the essence of my architectural history work.

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My aim, through this series of blog articles, is to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania and Southeast Europe, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of world’s architectural history and heritage.

***********************************************

If you have a historic house project in Romania or other country in Southeast Europe, I would be delighted to advise you in aspects pertaining to its architectural history and ways to preserve as much as possible from its period fabric and aesthetics in the course of restoration or renovation works, or to counsel you with specialist consultancy work related to that project. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this website.

Neo Romanian architecture seen as a Kondratiev wave

I found quite uncanny the fact that the Neo-Romanian style architecture has unfurled for a period of 60 years, which is the same as what economists term as a Kondratiev wave or cycle in the evolution of the economy and technology. The national style of Romania started in 1886 with the first house in that style, Casa Lahovary, which overlaps with the introduction of new building technologies such as industrially produced brick, steel beams, wrought iron, all on a background of feverish land speculation in the country and evolves in three stages following the Kondratiev phases of expansion, stagnation and recession, which for the Neo-Romanian style are the early, mature and late periods, each taking about two decades, just as Kondatiev’s phases. This video details the extremely interesting overlap between the evolution of the Neo-Romanian style and the Kondratiev wave, which occupied the period between the high Victorian epoch until the end of the Second World War, and what we can learn from that overlap.

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My aim, through this series of blog articles, is to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania and Southeast Europe, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of world’s architectural history and heritage.

***********************************************

If you have a historic house project in Romania or other country in Southeast Europe, I would be delighted to advise you in aspects pertaining to its architectural history and ways to preserve as much as possible from its period fabric and aesthetics in the course of restoration or renovation works, or to counsel you with specialist consultancy work related to that project. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this website.

On the Patriarchy Hill, on my way home

A call to my social networks followers to join me on the road, on my way home, on the stretch through the Patriarchy Hill area, and sample together some of its architectural scenery, all of this in the wintry weather brought in the second part of March by the mini-Beast-from-the-East.
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My aim, through this series of blog articles, is to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania and Southeast Europe, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of world’s architectural history and heritage.

***********************************************

If you have a historic house project in Romania or other country in Southeast Europe, I would be delighted to advise you in aspects pertaining to its architectural history and ways to preserve as much as possible from its period fabric and aesthetics in the course of restoration or renovation works, or to counsel you with specialist consultancy work related to that project. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this website.

We can’t go on living like this: the demise of the Neo-Romanian style

Why the national architectural style of Romania, the Neo-Romanian style, went suddenly into demise in after the communist takeover of December 1947? Was that because of the historic watershed moment affecting then Romania, or it had a period of decline and going out of fashion well before that change in the country? This video endeavours to provide answers to those itching questions regarding the death of the once flourishing and one of the most flamboyant national building designs in Eastern Europe.

 

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My aim, through this series of blog articles, is to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania and Southeast Europe, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of world’s architectural history and heritage.

***********************************************

If you have a historic house project in Romania or other country in Southeast Europe, I would be delighted to advise you in aspects pertaining to its architectural history and ways to preserve as much as possible from its period fabric and aesthetics in the course of restoration or renovation works, or to counsel you with specialist consultancy work related to that project. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this website.