Series 16 – Practical Research on Inter-war Plaster

Series 16 – Practical Research on Inter-war Plaster

The practical research for the repair of the simili pierre wall is at the stage where completely damaged areas are being restored. The loose plaster has been removed. The masonry substructure has been rebuilt as it was completely eroded and unstable because of high humidity levels. The new structure has been plastered with a plaster of simili pierre and is being worked on according to the original design.

First, some plaster samples were taken to determine the size and composition of the grains. In order not to alter the colour, no sand was used, only white stone dust in a proportion of 1/2 (cement/marble dust).

The plaster is applied and left for about a day to harden, after which the design is traced and then the surface is smoothened.

Smooth edges are produced by levelling the surfaces when applying plaster.

There is a difference in colour from the old plaster, but this is due to the ageing of the old finish and erosion over time by water, wind and sun.

 

First, some plaster samples were taken to determine the size and composition of the grains. In order not to alter the colour, no sand was used, only white stone dust in a proportion of 1/2 (cement/marble dust).

The plaster is applied and left for about a day to harden, after which the design is traced and then the surface is smoothened.

Smooth edges are produced by levelling the surfaces when applying plaster.

There is a difference in colour from the old plaster, but this is due to the ageing of the old finish and erosion over time by water, wind and sun.

The practical research goes on.

Series 15

Serial 15 – Practical research on inter-war plasters

Serial 15 – Practical research on inter-war plasters

 

Studying the types of plaster and textures – incredibly diverse in form, materiality and manufacturing – we also observed the types of decay that are encountered. Many people ask us how to repair them. That’s why the Pro Patrimonio team continues to study practical ways of intervening in different situations. We are currently studying repairs to a fence plinth made of bush-hammered similipierre, which was loose and cracked, and cleaning graffiti designs on different types of plaster.

The problems encountered on the fence are much more complicated than we initially estimated: very high humidity in the brick structure, poor quality support layers, detachments over much larger areas than the initial analysis. Work is currently underway to repair the structure and straighten the wall (it was leaning dangerously close to the street).

Regarding the cleaning of the graffiti drawings on the facade, we had technical discussions and some practical tests with the company Clean Teach Expert, which uses gel solutions to dissolve the pigments in the graffiti paints and then washes them with a hot water jet. Old drawings dissolve more slowly and need to be scrubbed off with a soft brush, but this can erode poor surface plasters. It is important that after cleaning, the facade is treated with a protective solution to prevent future spray paints from penetrating deep into the facade, in line with a functional and consistent City Hall policy to discourage this type of vandalism in the city.

 

Series 10 – Forgotten Textures

Series 10 – Forgotten Textures

Detail of beige-yellow carved similipierre plaster with focus on the plate with the architect’s name, also in mortar.

Photo by Andrei Mărgulescu

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Details from the project “Forgotten Textures – Inter-war Bucharest”, a Pro Patrimonio Foundation cultural project carried out in the fall of 2019 which resulted in the guide Forgotten Textures: Inter-war Bucharest. Plaster recipe book. Author: Ruxandra Sacaliş.

Series 09 – Forgotten Textures

Series 09 – Forgotten Textures

We’ve discovered another small treasure in Bucharest, a linear, horizontal decorative plaster that marks the window registers.

Rough, smooth, uneven, geometric, orderly, random, sculpted, splashed. In our daily walks through Bucharest, we intersect with the textures of the forgotten city: on the base of a fence or a house, on the frame of a door or a window, on the steps of an entrance. Each texture tries to show its beauty and convey an emotion. The hidden emotion of the city. Each seems to have a forgotten story that we try to rediscover and retell through this project.

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Details from the project “Forgotten Textures – Inter-war Bucharest”, a Pro Patrimonio Foundation cultural project carried out in the fall of 2019 which resulted in the guide Forgotten Textures: Inter-war Bucharest. Plaster recipe book. Author: Ruxandra Sacaliş.

Series 08 – Forgotten Textures

Series 08 – Forgotten Textures

Smooth versus rough

Above the window, an art-deco-inspired plaster in smooth grooves, made of simple lime mortar which highlights through its frequent rhythm the semi-cylindrical shape of the corner volume and accentuates its verticality. In addition, this decorative plaster catches the eye through the subtle gradient play of shadow and light on the facade.

By contrast, the plaster base under the window is very rough and renders the shadows through a different, rugged play. A contrast that makes the charm of this modernist facade in Bucharest.

Zig-zag, zig-zag

A facade finish that is almost 100 years old and still keeps its edges sharp.

The soft mortar was “folded” according to an origami pattern with clear edges that creates pronounced shadows and accentuates the horizontality of the volume under the windows.

We can also notice that this decorative plaster is in the company of the black polished cement mosaic and the rough green ”terasit”-type plaster, together dressing the volumes in a tactile and visual play between shadow and light, though and porous.

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Details from the project “Forgotten Textures – Inter-war Bucharest”, a Pro Patrimonio Foundation cultural project carried out in the fall of 2019 which resulted in the guide Forgotten Textures: Inter-war Bucharest. Plaster recipe book. Author: Ruxandra Sacaliş.

 

Series 07 – Forgotten Textures

Series 07 – Forgotten Textures

The skill of inter-war craftsmen keeps surprising us with the various similipierre-type treatments of plasters. This scale-shaped model can be found on the fences or bases of several interwar blocks in Bucharest.

 

In the semi-shade: base similipierre-type plaster carved with a scale pattern.

A base plaster that catches your eye in the sunlight. A similipierre with red pigment mechanically processed with tools specific to stonemasons.

 

Same colour, two different materials. At the top there is a rough-textured ”terasit” , at the bottom a similipierre crafted with chisel and hammer for an even harsher effect.

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Details from the project “Forgotten Textures – Inter-war Bucharest”, a Pro Patrimonio Foundation cultural project carried out in the fall of 2019 which resulted in the guide Forgotten Textures: Inter-war Bucharest. Plaster recipe book. Author: Ruxandra Sacaliş.

Series 06 – Forgotten Textures

Series 06 – Forgotten Textures

If the plasters on building bases which we have collected so far were vibrant and wanted to attract our attention when we passed by, the plasters on the upper floors are, in most cases, less elaborate in the apparent finish treatment.

However, the modernists outdid themselves here as well. The delicate decorations gave character to the facade and elegantly marked the different volumes of the building. And, like a painting, they invited you even closer to discover the delicate touches of the skilled plasterer.

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Details from the project “Forgotten Textures – Inter-war Bucharest”, a Pro Patrimonio Foundation cultural project carried out in the fall of 2019 which resulted in the guide Forgotten Textures: Inter-war Bucharest. Plaster recipe book. Author: Ruxandra Sacaliş.

Series 05 – Forgotten Textures

Series 05 – Forgotten Textures

Textures, textures, textures!

On walks through Bucharest you often meet the cement mosaic borrowed as plaster for many of the interwar buildings. Mosaic is a material that gives the feeling of a monolith – the smooth and compact texture obtained by sanding. Aggregates (powder or stone semolina) in different granulations which become part of the aesthetics of the material are visible on the surface.

By pigmenting the cement, the mosaic can have several color options: yellow, ocher, red, pink, black or green are just a few options from the range of possible colors for this type of finish.

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Details from the project “Forgotten Textures – Inter-war Bucharest”, a Pro Patrimonio Foundation cultural project carried out in the fall of 2019 which resulted in the guide Forgotten Textures: Inter-war Bucharest. Plaster recipe book. Author: Ruxandra Sacaliş.

Series 04 – Forgotten Textures

Series 04 – Forgotten Textures

Stone texture ?

Not quite. It is a detail of a similipierre-type base plaster with a rough effect, often found in walks on the streets of Bucharest.

Similipierre is a plaster typical of the interwar period, based on cement, which wanted to imitate the appearance of the stone (hence the name), but with lower costs than the natural material.

Rough Effect

The rough effects, found especially on the building base, were obtained by treating the plaster, when it was almost completely dry, with various tools, similar to those used by stonemasons. Through these types of treatment, the play of shadow and light on the facade becomes more vibrant and therefore the texture is much more vivid, giving character to the facade.

Details from the project “Forgotten Textures – Inter-war Bucharest”, a Pro Patrimonio Foundation cultural project carried out in the fall of 2019 which resulted in the guide Forgotten Textures: Inter-war Bucharest. Plaster recipe book. Author: Ruxandra Sacaliş.

Series 03 – Forgotten Textures

Series 03 – Forgotten Textures

The horizontal lines in modernist architectural language refer to the speed of the car or the ships, technical evolutions that influenced many of the avant-garde manifestos of the early twentieth century. Consequently, the facade decorations become minimal.

In this photo, a plaster with rough and smooth surfaces, with subtle play of shadow and light, has the role of highlighting even more these horizontal aerodynamic lines that are reminiscent of the car or ship shapes and their speed.

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Details from the project “Forgotten Textures – Inter-war Bucharest”, a Pro Patrimonio Foundation cultural project carried out in the fall of 2019 which resulted in the guide Forgotten Textures: Inter-war Bucharest. Plaster recipe book. Author: Ruxandra Sacaliş.

Tablou activitati Series 03 – Forgotten Textures

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