Ștefan Niculescu House

4 St. C-tin Stăniloiu St., sector 2, Bucharest

The city lives and is lived in quite a particular way in the Mătăsari neighbourhood. The (not only architectural) charm derives also from how its houses are set, with a reduced vertical and a horizontal much extended in the depth of the plot and beyond the gate into the street which they appropriate. In the traditional, organically developed urban pattern, a variety of blind alleys pushed their way among narrow parcels of land, imprints of modern principles of urban composition from between the end of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century.

These insertions, due to which this part of town is both denser and used to the greatest advantage, engendered pieces of city leading a rather quiet, snug life. Joined up with the tumult of the street, blind alleys retreat in their own world, displaying a domestic, autonomous presence. The Constantin Stăniloiu blind alley [Intrarea Constantin Stăniloiu], developed between 1930 and 1945, is such an urban marquetry inlaid in Mătăsari Street whose corner swivels with a modernist inter-war building passing its architectural language to its close neighbour, the house where Ștefan Niculescu lived. The articulation of the built volumes follows simple and clear geometrical rules. The ascetic aesthetics allows one single derogation from the compositional rectangularity of the façade – the undulating lines of the tiles disposed above the entrance, above the main blank space on the ground floor and at cornice level. The outside reveals the inside and its spatial layout. The body that advances slightly, discreetly leaves the outline of the house, polygonally turns at the corner towards its own courtyard, and enjoys wide windows plus an abundancy of light is the one sheltering the main spaces: the living room on the ground floor and the “music salon”, the study on the upper floor. The container of secondary spaces and of the bedrooms is the somewhat recessed volume facing the street, which climbs on the vertical and looks to the outside through simple rectangular window holes.

The spaces designed for living benefited both from the withdrawn position of the house with a garden in relation to the main street, and from the privilege offered by the proximity to Pache Protopopescu Avenue and several of the district’s landmarks just around the corner: the Iancu Vechi Mătăsari Church, nucleus of the area, and the former Popular (Pache) Movie Theatre.

Andreea Mihaela Chircă