Protect Public Space – On Socialist Architecture

Let’s talk about socialist modernist architecture! After launching the map Drum Bun, a collection of its landmarks found in Romania, we will discuss more about this architectural style and the necessity of bringing forward the topic of protecting and preserving it. The discussion will be broadcast live on our Facebook page, on the 17th of June, at 19:30.

The map Drum Bun is the result of Protect Public Space, a project which began as an Instagram page in 2017 and has since gathered together a collection of photographs of small and large architectural structures, with the help of many people who have contributed to the project. The map can be seen as a new configuration of the Instagram collection, a way of showing not just the architecture itself, but also its location and current state of being. While socialist architectural heritage has gained awareness in recent years, it is still decaying at an accelerated rate and requires a lot of attention. Moreover, beyond the main cultural centre of Bucharest, many important structures are decaying due to their low visibility. The map is not an exhaustive research on socialist heritage, but a subjective highlight of it, which we anticipate will inspire people to look out for such buildings when they travel, or motivate them to search for these landmarks, while becoming more engaged in the Romanian public space.

An important category of the representation of the socialist modernist architecture in Romania is the welcome signs found at the entrance of many towns and counties in Romania. They express a particular formal ambivalence, being neither road signs nor actual sculptures, but architectural structures that combine qualities of the two. It is this unique aspect of socialist border marks that makes them a part of public space that is worth considering.

The discussion will expand to an international view through the project Aliens and Herons, from the Czech Republic. Pavel Karous will be one of the speakers of our event, whose project Aliens and Herons is focusing on documenting, popularizing and protecting art in the public space built in the period of 1968-1989.

⚪Jakub Charousek, since 2017 working on Instagram project Protect Public Space, documenting the heritage of the socialist architecture in Romania, with a special focus on rural areas
⚪Roberta Curcă, working long-term on her PhD project of welcome signs/border marks, both from a local and an international perspective (on Instagram found as border_marks_archive)
⚪Pavel Karous is a Czech teacher and artist. In cooperation with Rozálie Kohoutová and the Czech Film Fund he created a documentary on this topic in 2008. Pavel is publicly active, featuring in many projects focusing on popularization of visual art in the public space.
⚪Ștefan Ghenciulescu is an architect, critic and researcher in the field of architecture and urbanism, editor-in-chief of Zeppelin magazine, professor at Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urbanism.

The discussion will be in English, available online, live on our Facebook page, at 19:30.