Emanuel Elenescu House

80 Popa Tatu St., sector 1, Bucharest

Sometimes, when larger or smaller parts of the city disappear, their trace linger in one way or another on the neighbouring buildings, testimony of the force irradiated by a certain architectural object and of the weight of remaining void. The streets originating in Berzei Street copied the pulsation and function of their nucleus, Hala Matache (Matache Covered Market), so that the market overflew by small shops at ground floor level carrying the downtown rush on lateral, secondary streets. The entire area fed off of the relationship with the street and the market and, with the heart gone and the main road enlarged by multiple cuts into the urban tissue, it was left to languish away.

This effect is felt today also on the first stretch of Popa Tatu Street, which meets Berzei Street, where all ground floor buildings work as shops and stores only still partially open.

At the junction between Popa Tatu Street and Iulia Hașdeu Street, we find a building shaped by such commercial function and by its site. The ground floor is sharply delimitated by the superior levels via a balcony serving the apartments on the first floor, thus separating the two worlds, of the street and of private habitation. Concomitantly, the ground floor also has two different purposes: onto Popa Nan Street it offers its space to a public function, whereas onto Iulia Hașdeu Street it allows the entrance in the building and the admission in the inner space, that of the inhabitants. The corner of this building containing a semi-basement, three storeys, and an attic, is marked by the vertical accent of the polygonal tower, with sides parallel to the streets it looks on to and to the middle of the junction. From this important crossroads two different areas set off, with perspective ends distinguished by two landmark-objects: Griviței Street with its Sfinții Voievozi Church, and Berzei Street with its Hala Matache which, although demolished, persists in the urban memory.

Andreea Mihaela Chircă