Ensemble Golescu – Cultural Landscape Observatory
The Golescu Villa and Golescu Dendrological Park in Câmpulung Muscel, Argeş County, owned by Pro Patrimonio Foundation, is an exceptional architectural ensemble (AG-II-m-B-13530, Historic Monuments List 2015). It represents a living example of rescue, research and maintenance of cultural heritage through various modes of use and habitation.
Pro Patrimonio attempts to reuse a historical moment by way of avoiding its transformation into a museum piece through habitation and integration into everyday life. This is one of the first practical examples adapted in time to the local context which the foundation faced while trying to implement its strategy for heritage and landscape safeguarding.
In the view of Pro Patrimonio, the Golescu complex works as a Cultural Landscape Observatory, with all its components (natural and man-made – architecture, landscape, social values, community relations, living habits, etc.) through projects and workshops held annually. From the beginning, the foundation tried to involve community and local government, schools and the press in the process of rescuing the Golescu complex. Thus, it has become one of the few cases of successful conservation, progressive restoration and integration of a heritage objective into community life.
The Villa and the Golescu park which has been kept intact became property of Pro Patrimonio Foundation in 2002 as a result of the donation made by Irina Maria Golescu († 2002), probably the last descendant (together with her sister Viorica Golescu, † 2001) of one of the oldest Romanian families whose history begins in the fifteenth century and has a decisive role in the modernization of the Romanian nation and the1848 revolution. Through their act of donation, the foundation received the mission to preserve, study and promote values of heritage, taking over not only the architectural and landscape architectural complex, but also all the original furniture, various items of everyday use, paintings, decorative art, carpets, lighting fixtures, the library, the letters and the family archive.
Vasile Golescu (1875-1920), the father of twin sisters Golescu, built villa with ground and first floor in 1909 ?, acting as holiday home on the west hill overlooking the city of Campulung, calling it Villa Stefan, in memory of his son dead during the war from 1914 forestry engineer, graduated in 1897 the École des Eaux et Forêts Nancy Vasile Golescu designed terraced park around the house (garden park), Adapting exotic and rare, early last century brought from abroad, from a natural forest.
The villa designed by architect Constantin N. Simionescu is an example of the neo-Romanian style (through framework, arcades, gazebos, etc.), specific to this region, an efficient combination between elements of traditional architecture and traditional living and the regional version of the Art Nouveau style of European origin, and which unbelievably survived the world wars and the communist era. The complex also includes an auxiliary keeper’s cottage, a model type for the gardener’s shelter, reminiscent of cule (fortified rural residences in the South Carpathians), having the same national expression style.
The park with an area covering over 3 ha, an example of biodiversity perfectly preserved, includes trees over 100 years old rarely encountered in Muscel area: Magnolia soulangeana (magnolia), Acer pseudoplatanus (sycamore maple), Pseudotsuga menziesii (Fir Duglas), Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree), Castanea sativa (edible chestnut), Ginkgo biloba (ginkgo), Sophora japonica (Japanese acacia), etc. Terraces and stairs are made of Albeşti stone without mortar.
The Golescu complex is also an experimental learning context, still in progress: education and research through annual practical workshops on heritage; landscape design, maintenance and park planning; exploring the area and surrounding living customs; cooking; fabrics; architectural heritage education for children, etc. The work process and its results, often unprecedented, are documented and archived in the Golescu Booklet series.
We may also add the Honest Goods series(link) reflecting a practical project pioneering object design and craft by daily objects that solve needs generally valid – lighting, utensils, fabrics and accessories for cooking and dining – and are into heritage architectural and cultural landscape Golescu.
What resulted after the initial restoration process of the Golescu ensemble, which has benefited from the generous support of Lafarge Romcim, is a combination of Golescu memorial house and a comfortable guest house with all the modern facilities, consisting of a generous reception hall, lounge, dining room, kitchen, five bedrooms and three bathrooms.
The members of the foundation can inhabit and use the villa on the basis of an agreed minimum donation and with prior reservation (link).
The park and villa have become an example of education and promotion of good practices in conservation and restoration of heritage, being open to the public for visitation.
Restoration Process (2003-2007)
In charge: Carolina d’Assay (President of Pro Patrimonio France, restorer of painting and art objects)
Villa and cabban: arch. Matei Lykiardopol († 2003), arch. Alexandra Chiliman, arch. Adrian Coșa
Park: arch. Alexandra Chiliman, landscape design Clément Briandet, landscape design Nicolas Triboi, landscape gardener Clément Guigues (Compagnon du Devoir et du Tour de France).
Furniture restoration and decorative objects: Aurel Puchianu, arch. Alexandra Chiliman, Caroline d’Assay
Furniture and library inventory: Caroline d’Assay, Roxana Triboi, arch. Anca Coșa
Archive inventory: Andreea Săvescu, Félix Mioulet, Alexandra Shafir
Sponsor principal: Lafarge Romcim (actual Holcim România)
Donors through Pro Patrimonio network: Pro Patrimonio UK and its members, Pro Patrimonio France and its members, Rațiu Family Charitable Foundation, Lykiardopol family, Șerban Cantacuzino, Nicolae Rațiu, Michael Lloyd, Alexandra Chiliman, Tudor Berza, Nicolas Triboi, Caroline d’Assay, SC Prodexim, IKEA
Donors from Câmpulung: Hepites Farmacy, SC Intex Prim, IATSA Dacia Câmpulung, Hotel Muscel, Dr. Oprișan, Mr. Marinescu.