A cultural market that is growing up slowly
- Raluca-Nicoleta Radu / University of Bucharest, Faculty of Journalism and Communication Studies
Architects are expected to create amazing desirable and functional spaces and buildings, that rewrite esthetical rules but follow local norms and national regulation, international standards, client’s taste and budget limitation, engineers’ structural constrains and building teams’ short comes.
Journalists, activists and ordinary people talk about norms and rules when they realize they live in spaces they cease to have connections with, that are lowering their standard of living. Politicians talk about architecture and urbanism rules during elections. Architectural heritage and new buildings and spaces became more often now journalistic subjects, and on social networks the Romanians’ interest for both is raising organically.
Despite these developments, two main characteristics are defining the professional world of Romanian architecture. The level of architectural literacy, this is the comprehension of the way a building or a space functions and affects us, is very low. A person is rarely the client of an architect, but anyone is the beneficiary of architects’ work, without being aware of it.
A second, additional trait refers to following rules and norms and to respecting (compulsory) professional advice. On the construction site, last minute personal ideas, opinions of family members, of friends and of handymen become more important that the professional advises of architects and engineers. In extreme cases, some architects accept, from the very beginning, to break the rules, alongside clients and authorities. As a result, many buildings have problems that range from aesthetics, to functionality, to exaggerate costs. Local authorities are often accused of receiving bribes, in order to accept buildings with evident problems.
Amazing spaces and buildings, desirable and functional, are the products of architectural creativity. Being creative is not only being capable of producing remarkable ideas, but also being capable of transforming them into creative products and events, that change the world (Becker, 2008; Csikszentmihalyi, 1999; Scott, 2004). Creativity involves a constant effort to promote new ideas and a fertile ground, for those ideas to flourish. It is possible that the current discussion about towns and villages destroyed, esthetically and functionally, by wrong decisions in the past, offers the frame for the respect of rules, norms, functional and desirable, in the mind of the usual beneficiary, architects can build on further.