Maria Tănase House

32 Popa Nan St., Bucharest

At the junction between Popa Nan Street and Mecet Street a house seems to rise from behind the vegetation. The built and the vegetable matter merge with one another, so inextricably blended that it feels like architecture and ivy grew together, weaved one around the other to the point of no longer telling wall from leaf. Beyond this enigmatic vision, beyond this layer that arrests our first sight and makes our imagination bloom, we encounter a distinct, well-defined object: the Florescu building, designed by architect George Damian in 1942. The inter-war period architecture (continued into the beginning of the 1940s) was infused with Mediterranean-inspired elements, materialized here in the double-sided gothic windows featuring circumscribed ogival arches, the twisted colonettes, the tiles intervening by horizontal lines slightly undulating in the composition of the façade. The expression intrigues, attracts and excites curiosity, visually and, through the building’s texture, haptically.

The seductive ornament excess is subject to the play of volumes – rounded, broken, advancing and recoiling, revealing themselves and hiding. Looking at the building from the south side, the round-cornered body seems to spread two wings, protruding into the console and opened parallel to the adjacent streets. Seen from this angle, the tall and supple silhouette doesn’t reveal the true dimensions of the building. Approaching it from the opposite side, we can however read the ample unfolding, built on the back of the lot, answering to the neighbouring blind walls. The garden, leaning towards the street and enclosed on three sides, contributes to the romantic aspect of the ensemble abandoning itself fully to the exalted vegetation.

With regard to the collective inhabitation, the building incorporates unexpected inner qualities to be found not only in the main rooms as such, but also in the way they are joined up to one another. Accesses, fluxes, circulations, the “between” spaces skilfully answer to the functional requirements. The markedly individualized apartments are in a continuous dialogue with the outside, through balconies and terraces obtained by advancements and withdrawals which contribute not only to the relation between the inside and the outside, but to the breaking of the massive built volume in well-connected fragments.

In one of the ground floor apartments of this buildings lived Maria Tănase.

Andreea Mihaela Chircă