11th June area, Bucharest
 HERITAGE

F l o r i a n     S t a n c i u 

                                                                                       

I find you to be right when you say that a house is always more than just walls, more than its relationship with the street, the urban tissue and, ultimately, the whole city, as we are usually tempted to approach the issue in school. Probably beyond urban morphology, syntax, etc. there is an existential stake that we can barely recover, in fact, to bring it back to memory. Probably the technicality and jargon of urban research obstructs the original encounter with home, living. It’s possible. In addition, there is a whole trajectory of the subject’s becoming (he who knows), its self-representation and the labor of “putting/placing (dis-placing) before/ahead of oneself”, meaning out of oneself, all that it knows in a secure/reassuring, representable space. Thus, things become objects and, subsequently, objects are, as we know, despite their inherent promise for objectivity, somewhat attached/hinged as they cling onto the subject, they are represented. I believe there is a stake here, a sense of detachment from the encirclement of terms that seem to obliterate rather than clarify, and this is felt by those who recognize themselves as having a ready-made terminology ready to be used at hand.

On the contrary, there is also an endless poetics of proximities, one that is terribly dangerous precisely because its infinitude and that we seem to feel latently lurking. Also because it doesn’t work with the negative, its opposite, what’s on the other side of it, the retreat, the distancing. During architecture studio, the pale-fledged attempt was to get out of the terror of the ready-made, the well-known analyses, the application of the intimidating authority of the figures, the sociology, the ecstatic "yes" to all that is happening, the anthropology, the social terror, etc. The labor of attachment to the houses, direct observation, archival research, the almost discreet lack of interpretations, nothing more than a responsibility for precision and preservation by drawing, were, at least as a hovering desire, the subject of our studio. Why only this? Because "just" by assuming this temporary and modest labor, a true attempt is made: the witness’s own statement of that which he has seen, first hand and feverish/impassioned, the continuous attempt to render it infinitely, faithfully, thoroughly, without interpreting direct actions; to work in a sort of retreat, a self-imposed rather not or prefer not to in Bartleby's way. The structure of the witness's own being is in the sense that all that he has witnessed exceeds him infinitely. That's why he merely describes. Likewise, suddenly, words are compunctions, fidelity, recognition. It is precisely the drawing. At least faithfulness/fidelity is fides, the love for what, amazingly, is. And it is, it historically exists, before us. The event, the patrimony, is the act of coming into present, into the open, is, paradoxically, first and foremost, time, and it is within time that a horizon of sense is to be found. That's why we feel the patrimony as essential. And the fact that the patrimony is sometimes neglected or destroyed, is nothing but a blunt confirmation of its carrying/bearing power.

 

Therefore, coming into openness as such is heritage and the City as a historical artifact is the material receptacle of this uninterrupted apparition into presence. In other words, openness is what precedes the city and not the other way around. The city is about preeminence, and, subsequently, patrimony is too, we are the heirs of this historical response to a primordial exigency. That is why the city is the original emancipation towards finitude camouflaged by the other emancipation, perhaps, sometimes, cultural, economic, most of the time. Yet Emancipation is not possible without the latent exigency.

 

Man is the finitude itself and only now, on the basis of finitude, the explicitness of inheritance, the heritage, can make sense, and the look can now become re-knowledgeable (re-collected), what is seen is now apprehensible. The look is grateful: an underlying thank you to the world. Heritage is not only that belonging to protected areas, but is perpetual and, surprisingly, ubiquitous.

 

I have previously said this a couple of times before, the original nostalgia is not after something that was, but after something that has not yet come into being, the nostalgia of the future, of what’s to come. We have a nostalgia for heritage, of course, for which this heritage is only an approximation. The heritage comes, on the basis of a summoning, a calling from the future, the heritage is "in the future". Probably this is the unsettling cut that brings with it any query on the patrimony, especially at the times it is seriously under threat.

The threat on that which currently is (as a balance cast between the future and the essential past) is one on memory, obviously. And those who easily give it up can no longer hear the call, the exigency that comes from what is to come and what was, and, at the same time, cannot say anything about their own end.

Florian Stanciu and Iulia Stanciu set up the architectural office "STARH" in 1996. Their works, in architecture, restoration and interior design, have been awarded prizes at the Architectural Biannual (they received the medals of the Architecture Section in 1996 and 1998, of the Interior Design Section in 2000, the President’s medal in 2000, and were nominated several times), at the Architectural Annual, Bucharest (prizes at the Restoration Section in 2008 and 2012) and were nominated to represent Romania (in 1999, 2001, 2005 and 2013) for Mies van der Rohe Awards. Their work has been published in the “Phaidon Altas of Contemporary World Architecture” (the 2004 and 2006 editions) and in several issues of “A10 Magasine for European Architecture”, Rotterdam. Their works were presented in the Romanian Pavilion at the Biannual of Architecture in Venice, 2000, 2004, 2006
They both have the PHD title in architecture and teach at “University of Architecture and Urbanism, Bucharest. (text from „Tower house” album – „Zeppelin Zoom” 2013)