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Collective housing, Bucharest

Part 1 Project 2010
Cristian Teodor Fratila
Cristina Alexandra Tartau
Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urbanism, Romania
Stage one (teamwork)
This project is situated in a real site, in Bucharest. Before any definite offers, we’ve considered the challenge of the location’s identity. What is really definitive for today’s Bucharest? Past generations describe it as being “le petit Paris”. Today, the inhabitants consider it being a chaotic, de-structured city.
In his book “The transparent city”, Stefan Ghenciulescu refers to it as a porous structure, considering this a specific expression of Balkan inhabiting area. We gave up the usage of compact rows of apartments, for stabilising a raised from the ground assembly fitting a discontinuous ground floor.
The shape of the site has two corners “pressing” the vicinities. Our initially straight line becomes curved. Volume has been added to the two-dimensional curve, thus producing a spiral. A DNA spiral, metaphor of life: architecture as a living framework – we form and are formed by our living space / directing the project towards sustainable architecture.
Individual dwellings have lovely surrounding gardens. When settlements’ density grows, the houses overlap becoming collective buildings. The green space disappears. Why not regain it, situating the garden on top of the houses? The green roofs serve as phonic and thermal insulation; they upgrade air humidity, produce oxygen and are aesthetic: in Bucharest the terraces of collective buildings are often reduced to unending surfaces of tar board.

Stage two (individual)
If the building was projected for a harmonious life, alongside neighbours, instead the apartments have been conceived for maximizing individual comfort. The apartments have a higher grade of flexibility – sliding carpentry permits the extension and unifying of different spaces in the house. They were imagined for dynamic young families. Day quarters occupy the largest amount of space. In case of the duplex, the kitchen and terraces have sliding walls. Regarding necessities, by just moving the carpentry, the whole ground floor can become the living area.
This building is conceived with solutions that link the future to the past. I consider that the synergy of green architectural formulas might be a long term solution in sustainable urban development, conditioning the imminent evolution from metropolis to ecopolis.

Cristian Teodor Fratila
Cristina Alexandra Tartau

Confronted with a difficult site in the center of Bucharest, within the workshop theme regarding collective housing, the students proposed a project who simultaneously responds to problems of a de-structured city, to problems of sustainability and to those linked to the comfort of living itself.
Among the major qualities of the project, there is the attitude towards the city, by filling up an existing emptiness with a new designed texture, appropriate as density, mass and height, of transition between a compact existing and a fragmentary area. It suggests a coherent ensemble through the attentive distribution of construction staff – main buildings, secondary links and accents – and of the available spaces, rhythmic and unitary one. Although subordinated as height to the front which closes the east enclosure, the suggested ensemble dominates through the quality of the proposed inhabiting and offers to the existing building a surprising opportunity through linked intermediary urban spaces.
At the object level, as functional-expressive point of view, the traffic road ring-shaped perimeter lets the enclosure free for a sequence of fluent circulation and pedestrian areas, with public utilities and interests areas. Designing the apartments on a horizontal and vertical grid looks for the benefits of the individual inhabiting within the collective buildings. The functions are carried on gradually vertical: public ground floor, an inhabiting first floor with insertions of common spaces and green terraces, apartments, private gardens.
The study pleasure and logics have taken credits for ventilated facades, elements for capture and providing non-conventional energy, green terraces. It is obvious the students’ preoccupations for sustainable architecture, their technical approach: straightforward design, low energy consumption, laborious conception.
For two years, the students have gradually asserted themselves, through talent and seriousness as two of the most valuable students of their faculty, endowed with a creative comprehension which exceeds the limits of the sterile dissertation. They have exercised the teamwork anymore, within other applications, but at this extremely complex and difficult theme, they have simply surprised and grasped through the study’s ampleness and maturity, carrying out a quite unique project.

Prof Victor Ivanes
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