Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Romanian Pavilion for the Universal Exhibition Paris, 1889

Arh. Ion Mincu
Proiect pentru Pavilonul Roman, Expozitia Universala de la Paris, 1889
Stilul neoromanesc
In the effervescent milieu of the turn of the century a genuine national school, the "Neo-Romanian School" was born due to Ion Mincu; it creatively appealed to quotations from the old Romanian art and successfully defined a new sub-variant of Art Nouveau that laid its mark on both public and private buildings.
By designing in both traditional and "modern" style the Lahovary House, Mincu used to say that he had come upon "the healthy roots of a tree struck by storms" and succeeded in turning it into a work "imbued with Romanian spirit". As the same Grigore Ionescu put it "that should present in an innovative manner some specific elements and forms of old Romanian architecture; the building judiciously uses some traditional materials and techniques and it is representative for its architectural esthetical form, which is clear and displays harmonious decorations and colors".
Another work that takes advantage of the same source is the "Buffet" on Kiseleff Avenue, built in 1892 after the plans of the Romanian Pavilion for the Universal Exhibition from Paris, 1889. The building borrows the traditional planimetric elements, the volumetric shape and decorations from the boyar houses; however, it does not mimic historical elements but selects the pervading spirit of traditional architecture. "The Buffet has a somewhat shaken architectural plastic, yet balanced; the rich decoration is conjured up to highlight the upper parts of the facade. The emphasis of architectural plastic is laid on the upper floor balcony to which a monumental exterior staircase climbs, being protected by the sweeping roof whose slope follows the line of the staircase. There is a "loggia" on the ground floor that captures echoes of rich floral ornamentation of colored tiles and the arcades of the prevailing element of the building, the balcony" (Grigore Ionescu, The History of Architecture in Romania, 1963).
Essay by Arch. Sorin Vasilescu
"Ion Mincu" University of Architecture and Urbanism
Bucharest, Romania

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