ArgumentNo. 1/2009

Interpretations of Traditional Architectural Elements

Abstract:

the organization of space has general characteristic s all over Romania and attributes specific to each ento-cultural region. These traits date back to times immemorial, because the people who produced what is nowadays called popular architecture did not even think of it in terms of architecture, or the practice thereof. They were answering stringent needs through a complex act, charged with local culture, techniques, rituals, knowledge transmitted from generation to generation – all of the above belonging to the place as well as the people. Educated architecture is the product of a professional practice - therefore, the very definition of programmatic.

The educated author is the result of highly specialized technical instruction, manifested in a cultural area which he then decrypts according to individual views. The anonymous author is a collective character, keeper and transmitter of teachings, rituals and the culture specific to his place of origin. He does not deliberately interpret the nature of the place – he is an intrinsic part of it. The accomplishments of Romanian architecture since Mincu, Cerchez, Petru Antonescu and up until - and including - Duiliu Marcu, O. Doicescu and many more (the so called lyrical functionalists) are manifestations of characteristically Romanian architecture, be it in the country or outside its borders. Still, even they have been subject to the influence of styles, trends, arbitrary decisions, etc.

Neo-romanian architecture uses elements of traditional architecture and applies them to a classical structure. Lyrical functionalism works with the same building blocks of traditional architecture, but employs them in a specifically functionalist manner. Nowadays, the attempt to interpret these elements consists of deconstructing their spatial effect and extracting from them essential attributes in the abstract, and subliminally recomposing them all while paying special attention to contemporary needs and current technologies. This approach makes it possible to shake off the handicap of using too grand a scale, improper materials or shaping spaces entirely unsuited to the user’s needs.

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