"Image and identity: Bucharest in the 1930s and 1990s"

"This paper introduces the phenomenon of modernism in Romanian architecture between the two World Wars from a present-day Romanian perspective in order to assess the characteristics and achievements of the period through the eyes and minds of Romanian commentators, for whom the connection between past and present is so immediate and necessary."

"...in the absence of a specific cultural direction and the supporting legislation to encourage its implementation, these major interventions within the fabric of Bucharest represent the culture of internationalism, the culture of everywhere and nowhere, the culture of utopia in its literal sense. The question for Bucharest and for Romania, as indeed for so many cultures which have newly emerged from autocratic rule, is not so much how to cope with the physical reality, but what to build and why?"

"The Master Plan of 1934 was a unique document in the manner in which it so rapidly embodied the ideas of the Charter of Athens of 1933 and of other modernist manifestos, into a practical working tool. As such it was far ahead of many city plans of the period and by comparison with later urban planning policy documents elsewhere, which attempted to embody modernist ideas in both radical and conservative manner, Bucharest's plan had already done so with disarming practicality. As an urban evolution, Bucharest was some fifty years behind its European counterparts in 1918, but by 1939 it seemed some twenty years ahead of most of them."


by Ernie Scoffham, Department of Architecture, University of Nottingham

Read the entire paper here

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