Sfântul Sava National College
Sfântul Sava National College is one of the oldest and most prestigious educa-tional institutions in Bucharest, founded in 1864. The building is located near General H.M. Berthelot and Știrbei Vodă streets, close to Saint Joseph Cathe-dral and Victoriei Street.
The initial U-shaped building was thought out to be small and perpedicular to the street leading towards it. A new section, where classes take place, was add-ed in 1890, occupying a significant segment of the plot length. The old building was used as the administrative wing of the high school. Shortly after, the con-struction was finished in 1937, with the front part of the building being demol-ished and replaced by a new façade.
The main façade is monumental in its appearance and recreates faithfully façade elements of the University of Bucharest. Moreover, the imposing façade is suc-cessful in its attempt to mask the architecture behind it. Descending towards the high school coming from Berthelot street, we reach a circular cul-de-sac which emphasizes the inviting nature of the teachers’ entrance. The strong transition is made by passing through the monumental stairs. The students’ access, more do-mestic in nature, crosses a gangway, a far cry from the treatment of the teachers’ entrance. This contrast between the two bodies is most evident when it comes to the interiors, their functions and the materials used. The front body is desig-nated for the teachers’ activities and it has ample spaces, such as the reception hallway, finished with marble, mosaic on the walls, accents and columns, while the body in the back is severely rationalized, with a purely functional approach, wood being the main material used.
The building is a result of the needs imposed by the high school, evident when it comes to: the height of the classrooms, the large hallways, the recreational courtyards, the vegetation, the existence of spaces such as the library, the am-phitheater, the small museum, etc. There was no consideration for the aesthetics of these elements combined.
Saint Sava National College is atypical in its architecture, as its monumentality and apparent presence serve to mask the phased, incoherent architectural pro-cess. Although the two different bodies form one educational institution, they clash when it comes to the architecture.
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