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Mazzocchioo#6 Thesis. Schools of Bucharest

Ștefan Simion

Schools and high-schools are more present in the daily life and the collective mind than we realize. These are the places where children and teenagers go every day, often accompanied by their parents. The school is an institution; yet here we refer first to the building, to its architecture that gives rise to an institutional dimension and, through this, becomes a built landmark of the neighborhood and of the city. Radically, architecture is either private or public; the School is par excellence public, a place of the community, with symbolic charge and ideological determination. When architecture is masterfully designed and is truly an architectural built thought – the school grows into a fantastic place, which becomes the spatial framework of youth training, quietly giving character to the rooms where learning is transmitted. The school building and courtyard are loaded with memories as generations of students and teachers follow one another. The school becomes permanence of the city. And this occurs thanks to those deeply architectural things: type, orientation, materials, architectural scale, structure, light, architectural elements such as pedestal-body-eaves, windows-carpentry-window, windows-frames, entrance-door, staircase-railing-light, etc. Moreover, the school as an architectural program becomes a theme in itself, with its own history. The structuring elements of this program are primarily the typology, the classroom and the corridor. The typology concerns, first of all, the distribution and the relation to the major, noble exterior space: a school with an inner courtyard or a bar-shaped school with an adjoining courtyard, for example. The classroom and the corridor involve working with the size and architectural scale of the space - height, width, architectural definition of how light enters the classroom by drawing the window, interior framing, window sills and radiator masks, but also with elements of furniture such as student benches, chair, podium and blackboard.

MZCH # 6 is based on the academic study conducted in the academic year 2019-2020 in the UAUIM 3rd year studio coordinated by Ștefan Simion, Emil Burbea, Cristi Borcan. Through survey, drawing, model and photographic documentary, the study focused on grasping the spatial, typological and ideological nature of nine high-schools inside the central ring of Bucharest, as well as the urban importance of these buildings in urban context: Cantemir Vodă, Gheorghe Lazăr, Gheorghe Șincai , Matei Basarab, Mihai Eminescu, Mihai Viteazul, Sfântul Sava, Central School, Miguel de Cervantes.


The academic debate of the workshop is enhanced by a broader image that emerges from the shared thoughts and ideas of a number of architects and professors close to this subject, as a response to the polemical questions of the editorial staff on this topic, through a short text and an image: Varudh Varavarn (founder of Vin Varavarn Architects, Thailand), Gilles Delalex and Yves Moreau (founders of MUOTO, Paris), Michael Meredith and Hilary Sample (founders of MOS, New York), Paola Aguirre Serrano (founder of Borderless, Chicago), Christine Fontaine (architect and professor at UC Louvain - LOCI Brussels), Eliza Yokina (founding member of the “De-a Arhitectura” Association, associate architect CUMULUS, Bucharest) and Laura Cristea (architect and editor-in-chief of PELINU publishing house); additionally, Cristi Borcan (founding member of studioBASAR, Bucharest) proposes a text about the nature and use of the high school courtyards.


Stefan Simion obtained a degree in architecture at “Ion Mincu” University of Architecture and Urbanism, Bucharest in 2004 and he’s the author of the thesis “Vacchini” in 2009, that led to “The Ambiguity of the Masterpiece. LIVIO VACCHINI, in 11 dialoguesi” published in 2018 by Arhitext Design publishing house. As a laureat of the SCIEX award attributed by The Rector’s Conference of the Swiss Universities, he has conducted a post-doctoral research on the work of Livio Vacchini during the academic year 2013-2014 in EPFL. He taught architectural design at UAUIM (Bucharest), Pratt (New York), EPFL (Lausanne), International University of Rabat (Morocco). Currently he teaches architectural design in UAUIM Bucharest and he’s a partner architect of the office with Irina Melita.

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