Chamber of Architects in Romania

Photography exhibit by Victor Velculescu

The Bank of Commerce in Craiova, 1906-1916Code no. List of Historical Monuments DJ-m-II-A-07979The Bank of Commerce was founded in 1899 by Constantine Neamtzu, a liberal politician who also held the executive position. Later on the bank had several branches in many important cities. In 1906 new headquarters were started to be built in Craiova (project by arch. Mincu) and they were finished in 1916 by arch. Constantin Iotzu. The style of the building is ecclectic, with a magnificient decoration such as furniture and wainscoting, stained glasses, cast iron, painted ceilings and mosaics. Today here is the City Hall of Craiova.

The Central School for Girls, building plans 1888-1889, built in 1890, other interior works done in 1892Code no. List of Historical Monuments B-II-m-A-18924While having a meal at Titu Maiorescu's, the Minsitry of Education, Nicholas Petrashcu recommended Mincu for the project of the Central Girls' School. The institution was founded in 1851 by the ruler of Wallachia, Barbo Stirbey, but did not get its own building. In 1888 the minister Maiorescu asked for the construction permit and in 1889 the foundation stone was laid. When Mincu designed the building, he was inspired by the Western cloisters and he also used glasswalls in the inner courtyard. Mincu used his alphabet as decoration on the exterior and interior walls in order to remind us of important women who played a role in our history and culture. His idea to use a national alphabet caught very quickly and most of our public buildings (city-halls, prefectures, financial and administrative headquarters) use this font. It also stressed the concept of a Romanian architectural style. Later on, on the former tennis field, a new house will be built for the director of the school, by the arch. was O.Maugsch. The festivities hall, which became cinema and is now Bulandra Theatre, was designed in 1942 by arch. Horia Creangă.

Code no. List of Historical Monuments  B-IV-m-A-20118.175

According to the drawings kept in our National Museum of Art, there are at least two versions of sketches drawn during the period of 1898-1901 for the tomb of the richest man in Romania, nicknamed the Nabob (1837-1913). During that period,  Gr.G. Cantacuzino held important political positions as Minister of Internal Affairs, Prime-Minister and president of the Chamber of Deputies. As he was a ascendant of one of the oldest families in history, he wanted to proudly display heraldic and military insignia on the monument. 

Monteoru House, Calea Victoriei/Victory Avenue, restoration during 1887-1889, Code no. List of Historical Monuments B-II-m-A-19863 This house was initially built in 1873-1874 for Alecu Niculescu. 10 years later it was sold to Grigore Constantinescu Monteoru (1831-1898), of Greek ancestry, an important landowner in Buzau region, liberal deputy and senator, founder of Sarata Monteoru resort. In 1887 eng. and arch. Nicolae/Nicholas Cuțarida filed an application for the refurbishment of the house: new windows and doors, wooden floors and railing, renewal of the wallpapers, tiled stoves. It is either a first contract, signed before the one with Mincu or it is a case of collaboration between the two architects. We know for sure that Mincu finished the work in 1890 as his initials and the year are carved on the entrance door.

The restauration of Stavropoleos Monastery, 1897-1912 The restoration project was awarded to arch. Mincu by the Ministry of Education and Worship, as the monument was in a very bad state and it was expected to be demolished. The project was also offered as a form of compensation to Mincu as he did not get the chance to build the Palace of the City Hall of Bucharest.The dome is not original and there were several minor changes made by Mincu. To the right of the church , on the spot of the old inn, he built the bell-tower, the parish house and the museum, in a cloister shape. The works were finished by arch. Alexander Zagoritz after the death of his master.New information came recently to light in reference to the restoration and decoration of the church. Conrad Vollrath/Veleanu (1884-1977), an artist of German origin, left an auto-biographical manuscript –today to be found in the Arts Museum of Brasov- in which he says:” I have worked with many architects doing the decorative painting, such an example being arch. Mincu with whom I did the exterior decoration of Stavropoleos Church in the capital city” The yellow vegetable decoration on a blue background on the exterior of the church are made by his hand, and most probably also the enamelled ceramic elements of the accolade arches in the cloisters. After the collaboration with Mincu, around 1905, Vollrath/Veleanu worked with arch. Cristofi Cerchez at Minovici Villa. It presents the same paintings on the ceiling of the tower and colourful ceramic decoration on the arches of the porch on the main façade.

Brothers Gherghiev TombCode no. List of Historical Monuments B-IV-m-A-20118.177Brothers Evloghie and Hristo Gheorghiev were very important tradesmen and bankers, coming from Cârlova, Bulgaria. The first one to cross the Danube in 1837 was Evloghie (1819-1897), a teacher who manages to set up trade houses in Braila, Galati and Bucharest and starts leasing estates. He brought his younger brother, Hristo (1824-1872), to coordinate their activities in Bucharest. At one point in history they were the richest men in the country and they started doing charity work promoting education in Romania and in Bulgaria. The sudden death of Hristo determined Evloghie to write a will in 1883 in which he mentioned the wish to have a tomb. It seems that Mincu used the Mausoleum of Theodoric in Ravenna as a model for their tomb. He asked the sculptor Frederick Storck to make the statues of the four evangelists.

The Palace of Justice, chief of works during 1890-1895, he designed the interiors; he was the in-house architect until 1904Code no. List of Historical Monuments B-II-m-A-18941Mincu' s school colleague in Paris, A. Ballu designed the plans for the Palace of Justice in Bucharest and recommended the Romanian architect to coordinate the works and to realize the interior decoration. He was most probably backed up by Eugeniu Stătescu, laywer, politician and minister of Justice. Mincu right hand was the arch. I. Seewaldt, who prepared the economic quotations and pre-measurements. Seewaldt was the brother-in-law of constructor Schmitz who was involved in the works at the National Bank of Romania.In the technical commission in charge of the works other important names of Romanians appeared: arch. Capuțineanu, engineer Vârnav și arch. engineer Nicu Cerchez.Mincu also designed the ceilings and the furniture of the main meeting rooms in the High Court House, the Court of Appeal and Cassation, Court of Assizes, Library and Chancery. A forgotten monument, installed in the Hall of Lost Steps, was the statue of lawyer Mihail Cornea (from the Bar of Ilfov county), made by the Italian sculptor Raffaello Romanelli (1856-1928). Its pedestal, made out of marble and bronze, was designed by Mincu.

Credits: Story

Host and producer: Romanian Chamber of Architects, within the
remembrance project. Financed by the architectural stamp found.

 Oana Marinache, art historian - research and text
 Ioana Alexe, architect - graphics, project manager

 Monica Lotreanu, architect and art historian - project

Supported by:
Romanian Academy Library, the Collection of Prints and
Drawings; History and Art Museum in Bucharest; 
National Archives of Romania, Bucharest branch; 

Directorate for Culture and Cultural Patrimony of Vrancea
County; Craiova City Hall; Galaţi County Prefecture; Galaţi Children`s
Palace; Bellu Cemetery Administration; Writers` Union of Romania; Bucharest Central School; Bucharest Court of Appeal; the Ortodox
Diocese of Tomis; Stavropoleos Monastery in Bucharest; Valea
Călugărească City Hall; Lacerta Vineyard in Finţeşti        

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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