Aug 142009

Versiune în română

A bit off the Revolution Square, on the corner of Dem Dobrescu Street, lies one of the weirdest looking buildings in Bucharest. It’s the former Directia V Securitate building (Securitate was the secret police of communist Romania, the equivalent of KGB in Russia or Stasi in East Germany) and the current headquarters of the Romanian Architects’ Association. The lower part of the building are the remnant walls of the house (cca. 1890) which housed the secret police and was destroyed during the Romanian anti-communist Revolution of 1989. In 2003 the Romanian Architects’ Association built a modern building inside and on top of these ruins, the project being designed by architects Zeno Bogdănescu and Dan Marin. The building, like any solution of this type, created controversy and searching the web I found many forums where it was called “hideos”, “ugly” etc and people were saying that no wonder Bucharest is the arhitectural hodgepodge that it is, since its architects have chosen to have their headquarters in a buidling like this. But I think this attitude is a bit unfair. I mean, what was the alternative? The building was severely damaged and at the price of real estate in downtown Bucharest, the building shell would have been demolished and replaced with a glass structure like the upper part of this building. But in this way the history was preserved and it makes people wonder about the building’s past. Even though I can’t bring myself to say that I absolutely like it, I would have to admit that it’s an innovative solution.

  4 Responses to “Controversial architecture”

  1. Hi Andreea

    I'm fascinated by your blog. Your photos are marvellous. Congratulations. regarding this 'hodgepodge' piece of architecture, I kind of look at it as somehting new and hopeful spring forth from something old and terrifying that bred such panic, such loathing… something reborn from those terrible times of cold, hunger and paralysing terror. I don't like the building in the least. It is unpleasing to the eye. It jars. But perhaps it is meant to, in order to make us look closer. Looking at an ex-Securitate HQ isn't supposed to give us a nice warm feeling, is it, really.
    Innovative is a very good word for it!

  2. Hi Sarah, thanks for the nice words. It feels good to know I'm not working on this site uselessly, that people like it.

  3. Him I’m using your data for my final Master’s pHi, I’m using your data for my Master’s final project on Rehabilitation of buildings. I’m doing a compilation of examples of contemporary intervention in historic structure ans I find this exciting. I saw it when in Buc on 2006…but now I know the details …is overwhelming. Well, the solution could be better crafted, but the history behind is unique…same with the willingness to preserve it


  4. I don’t find it ugly at all. Great solution. At least it looks great in your picture. Your images make me want oh-so-badly to visit Romania and Bucharest.

    Oh, we did something similar in my hometown of London, Ontario. In one case it worked (a hotel jutting up from the roof of the old armouries building) and in the other it failed miserably (an old hotel forming the corner of a new sports arena). I believe yours works.


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