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adrian-muresan-cartierul izvor-1979.jpg
Adrian Mureșan - Izvor neighborhood - 1979
Mazzocchioo#4 Thesis. BUCHAREST– The Diffuse Built Heritage   

Ș t e f a n   S i m i o n                                                                                         


The more you get to know Bucharest, the harder it is to name with precision those key ingredients that endow the city its character. Things seem contradictory, yet obvious: there is the eclectic built heritage, and there is the routine of habits and ways of life of its inhabitants. The charm of living here grows out of the fantasies and desires of those contributing to the various local traditions (such as coffee makers, publicans, booksellers, writers, craftsmen, etc.); but this charm is definitely decided by the décor that forms the background onto which life unfolds: the visible forms of the streets and of their houses, the planted cooling courtyards opening towards the street and hinting hidden backyards to enjoy a tea or a talk, the beautiful decorations of old houses and their window frames and  awnings and so on. The traits of the city are visible in the ensemble of typologies of the houses in relation to their plots, despite the sometimes brutal push of the new building speculation. The city is what bounds us together, it is the plateau that makes Cohabitation possible; it is the place that fundamentally allows fantasies and desires as different as possible to arise. Coming from the Past, the City is Patrimony.

MZCH#4 focuses on a historic neighborhood in the center of Bucharest in its attempt to see the true nature of the built heritage which cannot be conferred only by the extraordinary objects, those listed by the Ministry of Culture. The radical strength of the built heritage derives from the city itself, with its unpredicted development and the sometimes improvised buildings; and also and most important it grows out of that will of universality visible in many of its houses when the nobility of architecture is built into place: piano nobile, majestic entrances, elaborate attention to the details of the windows, profound and elegant vertical stratifications of the volumes (from pedestal and going up to the ending towards the sky by use of eaves with beautiful rhythmic carpentry elements). All these are part of the diffuse built heritage of the city, a quite, silent patrimony that isn’t always shining in the isolated architectural object, but in the confessed richness that the ensemble offers for inhabitation.

MZCH#4 – the Diffuse Built Heritage is structured around the research that took place in the studio of the 3rd year of study from UAUIM led by professor Florian Stanciu in the academic year 2017-2018. Their gaze focused on the neighborhood behind the Patriarchal Cathedral: typical houses spread around the urban tissue, also landmark monuments – a comprehensive fragment of the Bucharest of the 19th century and of the beginning of the 20th century. By means of words, drawings and models, students have been invited to grasp that structure of the city that we, inhabitants, may not see anymore as we have grown used to it. A certain beauty that is profound, diffuse, hidden and yet in plain sight – has been sampled and put forward. This survey led by the pedagogical team*, although deeply focused on the real world, is fascinated by the imagination that tries to overcome the boundaries of the realism**; targeting towards a new architecture that builds the city today, the studio project is in search of the delicate awareness of interventions in the historic city.

In the nine next weeks, the students’ analysis (Monday and Tuesday) will be alternated by the insightful contributions (Thursday) of the MZCH#4 guests who will answer to our questions that try to name the implied untold polemic meanings of the too-vast concept of Built Heritage: Administrative and Ontological – Vlad Alexandrescu, History and Project – Bogdan Mincă, Museification – Hanna Derer, Nostalgia and Evolution – Doina Ruști, History and Architecture – Luca Ortelli, Adaptability – Oana Bogdan & Francis Carpentier, Objectivity – Ștefan Ghenciulescu, Oldness – Ștefan Bâlici.





* Pedagogical team:  Florian Stanciu, Tudor Elian, Cosmin Georgescu

** Paraphrase of Milan Kundera’s words from The Curtain: An Essay in Seven Parts

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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