Romania’s communist architecture

During its entire existence in Romania, the communist regime was able to see its political message perhaps the best expressed in the architectural planning of Bucharest.

Architecture, seen as a science that designs buildings, both residential, as well as the institutional, could (as could any other scientific or cultural field) not have another faith than the one subordinated to the communist totalitarian system, which was a perfect mindset defined by the Orwellian formula of “double language” – meaning the difference between the official discourse and the real one.

The intentions of the country’s leaders in that period were to uproot the inhabitants of Romania in huge apartment blocks districts. This action was meant to accomplish several objectives: alienation, homogenization, the transformation of the Romanians into “automatic machines of modernity” in order to finally fulfil their evolution towards the “new man” (the socialist type)(connection with The futurist’s manifesto)

A second aspect of communist beliefs included the institutional buildings constructed in a megalomaniac way – specific to the totalitarian regimes, serve as an expression of prosperity and welfare of the state. 

Finally, one last way to put in practice the Communist totalitarian ideas was the destruction of monuments of historical value which served as memorial places for people, in order to erase the memory of a previous period regime off their minds.

Bucharest wasn’t literally torn down, but it was destroyed.  All the communist tenant blocks that were constructed during that time destroyed the air and elegance of “The little Paris”. Those constructions are connected to The Futurists Manifesto, as the tenant blocks were constructed in order to provide equality among the romanians, but they also provided lack of individuality and Romanians had to forget who they used to be.

Photo source:

Photo source:

Marina Gogeanu



4 thoughts on “Romania’s communist architecture

  1. Anca Petrescu designed the world’s largest civilian administrative building, the Palace of the Parliament in Bucharest, Romania – following the orders of Nicolae Ceausescu in 1986 (when she was only 28 years old).
    People’s House project was supposed to be a real challenge for young architects, a chance to showcase their talent, the work power and the professional capacity they have acquired in schools, so she fitted in perfectly. After the fall of communism, architect Anca Petrescu,declared that the building is “guilty of every sin imaginable.”
    However, she was involved in many of the Ceausescu’s “systematisation” project, which included the forced removal of residents to demolish old traditional neighborhoods in order to replace them with modern, communist buildings.

  2. Indeed, it would be interesting to learn more about systematization from a Romanian perspective in order to understand the scope of this upheaval and what was lost in the built environment of the country. As a tourist in Sighişoara, I noticed my guidebook mentioned the failure of a Petrescu project here, which ultimately helped to preserve the historic and cultural value of this popular Transylvanian town. I wanted to learn more about this person who made a career of systematization projects, but was not able to find much good information online at the time (maybe she is currently a member of Parliament?).

  3. Interestingly enough, Anca Petrescu has made a good career in politics and has been a parliamentary for a while. During that time, she also possessed the only business with its headquarters located inside the actual Parliament’s House, an architecture company. Because she was the main architect of the buildings, she was allowed to pay a rent of only £1/square metre/month for the HQ of her company.

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