Exterior by definition, the balcony consists of a platform, railing and one or more doors through which it communicates with the interior. Yet, profoundly exterior by nature, the Romanian balcony finds itself as one of the most “internalized” living spaces. The balcony is a living room, the balcony is a bar, the balcony is a pantry, the balcony is a kitchen, the balcony is a bathroom, the balcony is a bedroom, the balcony is the workshop, the balcony is the greenhouse, the balcony is the garden, the balcony is an office, the balcony just is (ours, everyone's).
Above all, the balcony is a versatile space and a special character in the story of Romanian housing, both in terms of public space and private space. The balcony of the forced urbanization, avenged by numerous customizations and interpretations regarding spatial semantics, aesthetics and geometry ends up tracing the identities of a postmodern generation for which the act and the audience switch roles. Built in the image and likeness of the owner, following magazines, trends or needs, the balcony is captive in its own spatial development. Thus, the balcony must be released.
During the quarantine, in accordance with the introspective nature of private existence, the recurring theme of contemplation unveals a vivid limit. The existence within the apartment’s boundaries emphasizes its physical contour and, to a discreet extent, the metaphysical one. Confronted with the perimeter of this stop-frame, the narrative of the isolated self explores meanings to dillute the limits and limitations, at least mentally. Isolation within the apartment, in particular, makes the case for an interesting search for escapist contemplation. The balcony is a public expansion of the self, a privileged lodge of an urban theater, where the living is the act. The balcony is closed, but “the end” is open.
Keywords: balcony, living, home, public, identity
Published in Argument 13/2021