Exhibition and Publication, Scenarios for socialist collective housing estates in Bucharest

An Archis Interventions, Zeppelin and Point 4 initiative, launched in cooperation with ATU, Space Syntax Romania, Hackenbroich Architekten and Platforma 9,81.

Exhibition: AedesLand, Savignyplatz, Else-Ury-Bogen 600-601, 10623 Berlin
Duration: 8th Sept.–29th Oct. 2009

A Romanian/English publication will accompany the exhibition:
Stefan Ghenciulescu, Constantin Goagea, Kai Vöckler (eds.), Magic Blocks. Scenarios for socialist collective housing estates in Bucharest. Bucharest: Zeppelin Association 2009. ISBN: 978-973-0-06942-6

Photos by Dragoş Lumpan.

The cityscape of Bucharest is dominated by huge, standardized public housing estates built during the socialist era, mainly in the 1970 and 1980s – in which circa 70 per cent of the city's population still live. These 'concrete curtains' flank established major traffic axes, blocking the view of the parts of Bucharest that lie behind them. Alongside them stand more recently built estates, with a total of as many as 400,000 inhabitants. Following the collapse of state socialism and the introduction of a market economy, most public housing was privatized. Sitting tenants were able to acquire their apartment for a minimal sum. Market factors have since come into play: an apartment's value falls or rises according to its location, amenities and local infrastructure; some apartments are of interest to investors; others are suffering from neglect. Neither officials in the City Housing Department nor individual owners (most of whom are owner-occupiers), are equipped to cope with the new situation – and it is here that the »MAGIC BLOCKS« initiative seeks to make an impact. Launched by Archis Interventions in cooperation with local and international architecture offices and projects, »MAGIC BLOCKS« will present scenarios for the future development and use of housing estates and thereby stimulate public discussion of housing and other social issues in Bucharest. The exhibition illustrates this concept in the light of supplementary information on overall urban development in Bucharest.

»Magic Blocks« opens up a new area of debate in architecture: it addresses the, until now, largely unexplored drawbacks of the privatization of public housing in former eastern bloc countries and asks, what alternatives are available.

more info:

Zeppelin – Stefan Ghenciulescu, Constantin Goagea, Cosmina Goagea
Point 4 – Justin Baroncea, Carmen Popescu, Jean Craiu
Archis Interventions – Kai Vöckler
Space Syntax Romania – Esenghiul Abdul, Christian Beros
ATU – Vera Marin
Platforma 9,81 – Marko Sancanin
Hackenbroich Architekten – Wilfried Hackenbroich

The project is financed by the Romanian Cultural Institute through the Cantemir Programme. The project »Archis Interventions« is supported by ERSTE Stiftung.
We thank: Union of Architects Romania, Austrian Cultural Forum Bucharest, and Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Bucharest