Concordia Hotel

Concordia Hotel

Former Concordia Hotel in Bucharest, a Forgotten Place in Modern Romanian History

Pro Patrimonio Foundation and the Bucharest Branch of the Order of Architects in Romania together with intellectuals and cultural institutions drew attention through a public campaign sustained annually since 2013 to the state of degradation the former Concordia Hotel Hotel in Bucharest is sin, the place where on 23 January 1959, Alexandru Ioan Cuza was elected president of Wallachia after having been elected president of Moldova on 5 January. The 1852 building included on the list of historical monuments of Bucharest 2010 under no. 2025, code LMI B-II-m-B-19708, is a private property and in an advanced state of ruin despite the numerous efforts of recent years made by the civil society, intellectuals, artists, journalists and architects.

Details at https://www.historia.ro/sectiune/general/articol/hotel-concordia-cladirea-unde-s-a-pecetluit-unirea-principatelor-salvata-din-flacari-ingropata-de-ignoranta

In 2013 architect Şerban Sturdza underlined that the civil society is directly responsible for the fate of buildings and historical areas because they are our common inheritance, so we can’t stand by and wait for problems to fix themselves. “The people who represent the Municipality must be forced in a direct but not discreet manner to do their job, and with regard to the Historic Center, the work is not finished simply because we can go there during the summer and have a beer at the terraces on the buildings’ ground floor. This glitter of civilization relates only to pleasure and to a dose of irresponsibility, because, in parallel, efforts necessary to keep these buildings standing are not being made. This matter of the protection of historic buildings is a big lie. We protect the area, but no house is protected, it’s absurd “he declared.

More details here: http://adevarul.ro/news/bucuresti/foto-hotel-concordia-cladirea—s-a-pecetluit-unirea-principatelorsalvata-flacari-ingropata-ignoranta-1_50ffafb6aa73e8e04b3427a6/index.html

Bucharest – Heritage in Danger 2016

Bucharest – Heritage in Danger 2016

At the request of Pro.Do.Mo. Asociația and Pro Patrimonio Foundation, in 2016 the international organization World Monuments Fund nominated Bucharest among the world’s most endangered historical sites. The WMF chooses sites and heritage objectives that have international urban value and has been interested in saving worldwide architectural and cultural heritage for over 50 years.

The capital of Romania has been nominated for the category “Historic Center in Danger” on the 2016 World Monuments Watch list due to demolition or abandonment of heritage buildings, uncontrolled development and destructive rehabilitation interventions. As a result, the city has been included in a monitoring program regarding public policies for heritage protection. The imminent risk of a massive earthquake jeopardizes most of the city’s heritage buildings.

On 3 March 2017, Watch Day 2017 focused on a call to action for the Capital, facing imminent threats and challenges from the perspective of heritage vulnerability and seismic risk. The event had two components: Watch Day – Vulnerable Bucharest – Debate. Book Launch and Watch Night – Vulnerable Bucharest, informal meeting – Book launch, movies and experiences..

Bucharest, the European capital with the highest seismic risk, abounds, especially in its central area, in buildings with a grade I seismic risk, which implies an imminent collapse at the first major earthquake. In the case of an earthquake like the one in 1977, today’s Bucharest would lose a large number of modernist blockhouses and nineteenth-century houses that sheltering thousands of people today. The human, material and city losses would be major (see http://blog.seismic-alert.ro/).

As an example, Magheru Boulevard is itself an archive of modernist buildings with an internationally recognized cultural and architectural value. 15 historical monument buildings, 9 buildings with a class I seismic, 5 buildings with a class II seismic, 65,000 sqm of built environment in danger, 150,000 sqm area in danger, 2000+ inhabitants, 5000+ people in daily transit are figures that outline the current situation of boulevard.

Here’s an awareness-raising film made by Pro Patrimonio Foundation, World Monuments Fund  and Association Pro.Do.Mo.:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Ciq6NB574w

World Monuments Watch is a global program launched in 1996 aiming to attract international attention to cultural heritage sites around the world. The program provides an opportunity for nominated sites to raise public awareness, promote local participation, encourage innovation and collaboration, and highlight alternative solutions.

Watch Day 2017 – Vulnerable Bucharest was organized by the Romanian Center for Innovation in Local Development (Centrul Român pentru Inovație în Dezvoltare Locală)), MKBT: Make Better, the Order of Architects in Romania – Bucharest Branch, with initiators Pro.Do.Mo and Pro Patrimonio.

Matache – A Troubling Affair (2010 – today)

Matache – A Troubling Affair (2010 – today)

At the end of 2010, Bucharest City Hall decided to start works for the North-South Diameter, based on the Local Urban Plan for the Buzeşti-Berzei-Uranus Diameter. The demolitions have brought back painful memories to the inhabitants of Bucharest, especially through the way they were implemented (executed at night, without dismantling the valuable pieces to be reused fully or as materials, with the evacuation of the inhabitants in winter). The prerequisites for the project were fluency and increase of car traffic transit without the analysis of the consequences on the overall mobility, ignoring the complex reality of life and living in the neighborhood.

The Matache area, in the center of Bucharest, has undergone dramatic and radical changes that have left their mark on the community leaving its neighborhood and heart, the historical monument Matache Hall (demolished overnight on 25 March 2013), in a state of social and economic disintegration. Civil society actions against the demolition of historical monuments drew attention to the need to regenerate and integrate the project, to modernize streets with more complex projects aiming to revitalize urban and social tissue.

Currently, the area is abandoned by the administration and looks as a huge unhealed wound.

Pro Patrimonio Foundation has been involved in rescuing the area and Matache Hall, and suggested hands-on solutions for urban regeneration and dialogue with the administration. Two witness-lines were born.

The first is the volume Who is afraid of the Matache neighborhood? Principles of urban regeneration for the Matache area – North Railway Station in Bucharest (Pro Patrimonio 2012), a manifest book, a project book, a book witness to a concentrated urban activism phenomenon, that imagines that anyone can have an initiative and suggest solutions for neighborhoods and cities. At the time of the book’s release, February 2012, the North-South Diameter operation seemed to be far from over and there was hope for Hala Matache to remain standing (unfortunately, it would be demolished on 25 March 2013). The volume created by Mirela Duculescu was awarded the ex aequo national prize for the book section, the National Architecture Biennial 2012.

The full text of the book is available here: Matache link

The second direction is the 2016 documentary film by Dragoș Lumpan Matache. Berzei-Buzeşti ,based on an dense material. Changes in the area are captured in filming, timelapse, and photos taken between 2010 and 2016. The film includes interviews with architects, urban planners, anthropologists, and representatives of the civil society, residents and merchants in the area, former mayor of Bucharest, Sorin Oprescu, and archive images. The film provides an objective perspective on a specific urban tissue, and is an example and case study for other cities facing similar situations. The film benefited from the financial support of the National Cultural Fund Administration and received the AFCN Award for Innovation in the Promotion of Architectural Heritage in 2016.

Follow this link for news about the film and project (work in progress) Platforma Matache.

Tablou activitati Matache – A Troubling Affair (2010 – today)

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