what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Toma Socolescu - an architect who made his mark

On a trip a couple of days ago to nearby Brasov, I visited the new Humanitas bookshop for the first time – and also the Carteresti bookshop nearby – both housed in typical marvellous old Saxon buildings with which the heart of the City is so generously endowed.
I was lucky to find in the latter a 250 page book on the works of one of the very distinctive school of Romanian architects of the first part of the 20th century which made (and still make) Romanian provincial towns visually so interesting. Toma Socolescu’s work adorns much of Ploiesti where he was born on July 20, 1883 to a family of architects (grandfather, father and uncle were all architects). 
He studied at the "Peter and Paul" (now National College "Ion Luca Caragiale") and at the University of Architecture and Urbanism "Ion Mincu" of Bucharest where Ion Mincu himself was a teacher. He specialized in civil and religious architecture and built many of the buildings of Ploiesti eg
  • Between 1924 and 1932 - his old high school building which houses, the current National College "Ion Luca Caragiale".
  • Between 1924 and 1933 (opening date) - Palace of Culture in Ploiesti , the former Palace of Justice. (A very good article about the story of building the palace can be found on the website Republic of Ploiesti )
  • Between 1929 and 1935 - Ploiesti Central Market - probably the most famous building in Ploiesti recognized at European level.
  • Between 1923 and 1937 - St. John the Baptist - an imposing building with its tower 60 meters high.
  • Between 1912 and 1936 - Church of St. Panteleimon , located on Democracy, no. 71.
Thomas T. Socolescu was actively involved in the political life of the interwar period:
  • Mayor of Ploiesti, during December 1919 - March 1920
  • Councillor of the City, from March 1926 - March 1929
  • Prefect in Prahova, during April 1931 - June 1932
  • Mayor of Păuleştiului, during 1937 - 1940
Besides the profession of architect and his political career, Thomas Socolescu was involved in the cultural life of Ploiesti. He helped found the Library Nicolae Iorga and Prahova County Museum of Art "Ion Ionescu-Quintus" .

During the communist period he was persecuted by the Security (as were other important families in Romania). His buildings clearly flaunted style and wealth which offended ideological principles. 
The family propertywas confiscated and he himself was evicted from his home at PAULESTI; and was forced to move to Bucharest where he worked until the age of 74 years.

He died on October 16, 1960, in Bucharest. A doctor who is passionate about things related to Prahova County has a marvellous page on him - and his works. Use the google translate facility and you will get the info - but the pics are great!

I have just discovered the English version of a great French travelogue about Romania which first appeared in 1996 - The Romanian Rhapsody; an overlooked corner of Europe by Dominique Fernandez with photos by Ferrante Ferranti (2000). Googlelibrary gives extensive excerpts - which give a sense of what some of us experienced when we first ventured 20 years ago into the country. The guy writes with passion....and the photos are great.......

No comments:

Post a Comment