Străzile Teodor Dragu, Gheorghe Popescu, Scarlat Ottulescu, Alexandru Antoniu Ion Băiulescu, Soldat Constantin Mănescu, soldat. C. Dumitru Botez, soldat mecanic Constantin Anastasiu, soldat mecanic Pandele Roșca, Iuliu Gall, N. Galea
Constantin Pomponiu, Maria Cottescu
The Viilor lotissement was built by C.F.R. for its employees between 1927 and 1929 and is one of the finest examples from an esthetic standpoint
In 1922, the Labor house bought a plot of land at the intersection of Viilor road and Pieptănari boulevard and, in 1925, appointed architects Constantin Pomponiu and Maria Cottescu to start drawing up the plans. Pomponiu, specialized in the Neo-Romanian style, was concerned at the time with some more important projects such as the Unirii Cathedral from Cluj and the Mărășești Mausoleum. That is why many of the plans for the houses in Viilor were signed by Maria Cottescu, one of the first female architects in Romania. The architect worked a long period of time for C.F.R., she even designed a series of buildings from the Grivița Workshops and ended up in the history book of architecture through a series of post-war projects including the hotel from Altitude 1400 in Sinaia.
Work on the lotissement begin in 1927 and is abruptly stopped in 1929 by the Great Crisis. Thus, 179 dwellings appear on the map of Bucharest as follows: 59 apartments grouped into 5 blocks (“pavilions”, as they are called) and 56 “villas” with 2-4 dwellings. The houses were rented for a year, the contract being subject to renewal according to the demands and needs of the tenants. These villas coupled two by two under the same roof (tile), had two storeys and were surrounded by large gardens. They presented a series of composition elements tributary to the Neo-Romanian style such as wooden pillars with floral ornaments, buttresses and traditional motifs on cornices. It is not clear why the house building efforts did not continue in the 1930s, it is certain however, from the report signed by the director of the CFR Labor House, sent to General Ion Antonescu in 1942, that “there are 120 more plots for future homes”, and the lotissement plans also indicate where they were to be built. Instead, in the center of the lotissement was built a school that today is called “Princess Margareta”.
After the war, when Dej’s Communist railway workers took over the country, C.F.R starts building again. Work begins in Grivița, the district most affected by bombings and, later, in Pieptănari, where architect Cristina Neagu designed three blocks in a complex style, combining certain elements of the neo-Romanian (stone facade), with classicist entrances. The CFR enterprise, led by engineers Costin Andoniu and Louis Zalman, raised these blocks in 8 months (in total, 72 apartments), between June 15, 1947 and February 15, 1948. Coincidentally, the next day, on February 16, they commemorated 15 years since the strike in Grivița.
The next step in finalizing the lotissement was based on HCM 758/1951, based on which the workers could obtain loans from the state and build housing based on plans made by the Projects Institute of the Ministry of Construction. The land was passed from C.F.R. to the People’s Council of the Capital (according to HCM no. 4015/1953) and, having already being equipped with the different utilities (asphalt sidewalks, cobblestone on the carriage side, water, sewerage, electricity), the constructions started to take shape on the plots with an area of approximately 280 sqm, with a 14 m facade length a 20 m plot depth. On the Ion Băiulescu street a couple of two storey blocks were built, on Alexandru Antoniu nine buildings and on Constantin Atanasiu nine buildings as well, without any drastic changes from the plans devised by Pomponiu and Cotescu 25 years prior. The buildings on Atanasiu and Antoniu streets include four apartments, each with two rooms, bathroom and kitchen, each owner also retaining 148 sqm in the yard surrounding the villa. Their style is part of the “Stalinist” architecture, mainly due to the entrance arches and decorative elements, but these are delicately integrated into the existing fabric. The building efforts on the lotissement stopped in the early 1960s, when the authorities also built the four-storey blocks leading to the school.
The streets opened at the end of the 20’s received names of ceferists, and the political changes after 1945 did not affect this decision. Except for Gheorghe Popescu street, all still retain the same names. Initially, Gheorghe Popescu street was called Engineer Teodoru, an uninspired choice if we take into consideration that the street next to it was called Teodor Dragu, and a few hundred meters away, in the Fabrica de Chibrituri lotissement, there was a street called Engineer D. Teodoru. Therefore: Teodor Dragu (1848-1925) was a CFR engineer, one of the founders of the Polytechnic School, head of the workshop and rolling stock service of the CFR, Gheorghe Popescu was the head of the CFR maintenance service, Scarlat Ottulescu was, in 1899, the director of the Bridge Service and New Works, and Alexandru Antoniu one of the directors in the 1920s. Ion Băiulescu (1852-1911, from Brașov), a graduate with distinction from the Vienna Polytechnic School, was the most important collaborator of Anghel Saligny, taking an effective part in the design and execution of the Danube bridges. The others were deceased soldiers in the First World War (Soldier Constantin Mănescu, soldier. C. Dumitru Botez, mechanical soldier Constantin Anastasiu, mechanical soldier Pandele Roșca), as for Iuliu Gall and N. Galea we have no information at this time.