Drumul la Tei16/24
Streets: Barbu Văcărescu, Doamna Oltea, Beirut, Radu Mihăilă, Comandor Eugen Botez
N.I Georgescu, D. Stoica
Ioan D. Trajanescu, Ion Țărușeanu, Paul Rossin
Together with the construction of the Cornescu lotissement and in its proximity, the Municipal Company began the construction of the second lotissement, Drumul la Tei, for the “Munca” Cooperative, formed by the office clerks of the Ministry of Labor. This ministry became more and more important in solving the housing problem, as a result of the actions of Minister Grigore Trancu-Iasi. For example, the law of 1921, adopted at the initiative of the minister, allowed civil servants to set up companies and organizations to build homes for their members.
Approval chronology and lotissement history
Thus, the officials of the Ministry of Labor set up the “Munca” Cooperative and hired the Municipal Company to build houses on the land around the Drumul la Tei boulevard. The October 12, 1923 convention between the two institutions was signed by N. I. Georgescu and I. C. Negrescu, from the Company, and by Inspector General Mihail, from the cooperative. According to this contract, the “«Munca» Cooperative Society will handle the building of the lotissement on the sold land. The Municipal Company is taking the steps to obtain the lotissement authorization, and the lotissement will be strictly destined for the buyer”. The “Munca” Society had the obligation to build the houses in a maximum of ten years, and “the buyers of those plots […] will be able to sell them only with the authorization of the Company, any alienation made in the first 10 years, without the consent of the Company will be null and void”. Even though the two institutions signed the collaboration protocol in 1923, they started building the houses in 1925, as a result of the many redesigns of the lotissement plan.
The land was in the second sector and was separated from the Cornescu parcel by a borrow pit, but there was no road designed to connect them with the boulevard Drumul la Tei in the west side. The total area was 55,900 sqm and was initially divided into 94 plots, each with an average area of 200 sqm, afterwards 200 lots were plotted, out of which 150 got homes built on them. The two institutions submitted the lotissement plan to the town hall at the end of 1923, but the Technical Commission postponed its approval for several reasons. Being near a borrow pit, in an area considered unsanitary, the City Hall raised several questions about the soundness of building houses in this area, asking for the approval of the Capital’s Hygiene Council to “give the approval for allowing constructions on those plots and specify under what conditions of public hygiene and sanitation”. Another problem was related to the high demand for houses by the members of the Cooperative, which meant the diminution of lots and streets. This fact contravened the Alignment and Construction Regulations, and the negotiation between the Technical Commission and the Municipal Society, together with the “Munca” Cooperative, lasted over two years. In addition, according to the legislation, the urbanistic works of the newly opened lotissements had to be carried out by the lotissement builder before the construction of the houses. Only after the change of the parcel plan did the Technical Commission submit the plans to the Superior Technical Council of the Ministry of Public Works, to be approved by the councilmen, and on May 23, 1925, by a royal decree, the lotissement plan was approved and the construction of the houses could begin.
The lotissement plan, signed by the architect Fr. Reiss and modified by Ioan D. Trajanescu, included only housing units, with no buildings for public institutions or green spaces. The plan was characterized by the design of four streets parallel to the Drumul la Tei boulevard, from north to south, and of two streets that closed the lotissement, perpendicular to the boulevard. The streets were renamed by the Nomenclature Commission at the May 5, 1930 meeting. The first of the parallel streets, A (with extension F), was renamed Doamna Oltea and was placed between the boulevard and the borrow pit. Streets B and F were joined and renamed Roibului, bypassing the entire lotissement, C street was renamed Pintenogului (Radu Mihăilă today), street D was named Buestrului (Beirut today). Later, Roibului street became Commander Eugeniu Botez. Unlike the other lotissements, the Company did not build schools or parks, as the demand for housing from the members of the cooperative did not allow spaces for other public institutions. In 1924, the cooperative also started the urbanistic works, together with the Bucharest Municipal Factories, and the lotissement had at its inauguration water, sewerage, electricity, but also paving works, all executed on time: the curbs were made of prestressed concrete, the sidewalks paved with asphalt, and the carriageway was paved with cobblestone. Most probably, the company started construction of the houses in 1926. The first plans were signed by Ioan D. Trajanescu, and by 1927 21 semi-detached houses had already been built. These houses were built with the facade towards the Drumul la Tei boulevard, up to the intersection with Calea Lacul Tei. Most likely, the Company also planted the plane trees, the same type of trees as those on Lânăriei street and in Fabrica de Chibrituri lotissement. Tree planting was important, given that the plot had no street islands, public gardens and was close to the unsanitary borrow pit. The first types of houses were B0 and B2 (both ground floor only) and differed one from the other by the number of rooms. Type B0 consisted of a living room, a bedroom, a kitchen, a storage room and a bathroom. Type B2 had two rooms facing the boulevard, with entrances on the side facades. Different types were designed at the intersection of Doamna Oltea and Roibului streets (Eugeniu Botez). Apart from these types, Trajanescu also designed houses with one floor and a bellevue upstairs, also on the boulevard Drumul la Tei, some with wooden pillars, others with stone columns and trefoil arches, set back from the facade. In most cases, the roofs were made of tile, and the houses had dormer windows.
The dwellings were distributed to the members of the “Munca” Cooperative, most of them being senior officials of the ministry and of its subordinate institutions. Among them were Minister Grigore Trancu-Iași and Călin Adam Botez, navy officer, son of Eugeniu Botez, in whose honor the street surrounding the lotissement was (re)named. He lived on the Doamna Oltea street and married Cecilia Storck-the daughter of the artists Frederich Storck and Cecilia Cuțescu-Storck in March 1935. The work continued between 1928 and 1934, but they were based on other lotissement and housing plans. The third lotissement continued after 1927 was Drumul la Tei, based on the housing plans signed by Paul Rossin and Ion Țărușanu. In contrast to Raion and Rahova, the construction was not stopped, instead it was gradually pushed forward. The lotissement was not linked to Calea Floreasca, being separated from the Cornescu lotissement by the borrow pits, a situation that was remedied only in the 1950s. In September 1932, the cooperative sent a letter to the authorities, stating that most of the officials were working in the city center and as such they asked the Tram Company to extend the tram line. By 1927, the Company had built almost all the houses on the Drumul la Tei boulevard (renamed Barbu Văcărescu in 1931) and on Doamna Oltea street, up to the area near the intersection with Calea Lacul Tei. By 1934, the lotissement was completed with houses for the office clerks of the “Munca” Cooperative, but it was not finalized due to the abandonment of the 1923 convention. After 1927, the Company built the houses on Doamna Oltea street, refusing to build the houses on the boulevard, as the authorities had not issued a decision concerning its alignment. Afterwards followed, progressively, the construction of the houses on B (Eugeniu Botez), E (Pintenogului) and D (Buestrului) streets, based on the plans of Țărușanu and Rossin, a total of 98 dwellings completed by 1933. Another 36 plots were part of the authorization process, according to Sfințescu’s 1933 sketch. The two architects respected the provisions of the Construction and Alignment Regulations, regarding the corner chamfering of buildings. Most of the housing plans were signed by Țărușanu, who proposed a series of new types compared to those from Raion and Rahova. Thus, the architect designed type 401 for the construction of three rowhouses on Mrs. Oltea street, two storey high, in a style that seems to have modernist influences rather than Neo-Romanian, with consoles and arches. The same architect also designed types 204 and 206 (ground floor only), and on Buestrului Street he designed a unique type, on a corner, with a tower and asymmetrical composition. By 1934, the Municipal Factories had only finished the water and sewer systems. Some residents complained that the tiles had fallen off the roofs after they were installed. The officials of the “Munca” Cooperative were part of the senior staff of the Ministry of Laborof its subordinate institutions. Apart from Minister Grigore Trancu-Iași, senior officials such as Cornel Todea (general inspector), Anghel Petrescu (director of the Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Protection), Constantin Stănescu (deputy head of the Central House) and Ion Minea (Popular Banks inspector). In 1933, the price of a house on Doamna Oltea street, like the one at no. 9, started from 860,000 lei, since it was composed of six rooms, outside the appurtenances. Other types, such as the three-room on 3 Pintenog street, cost 432,000 lei. This type was composed of “land and the building, a cellar, ground floor and second floor, with the ground floor comprised of: hall/living room, kitchen, toilet, pantry, and upstairs two bedrooms and a bathroom, with water installations, sewerage, electric light, terracotta stoves, a tile roof, etc., a total of 155 sqm in construction and land”. At that time, a senior official in the ministries would earn up to 10,000 lei a month and could pay a monthly rate of 3,000-4,000 lei. On the other hand, a worker earned less than 5,000 lei. After the creation of the Construction Company, under the authority of the Ministry of Labor, and later, of the Central Insurance House, the members of the cooperative abandoned their collaboration with the Municipal Company and moved to the new neighborhood of the the Construction Company-Vatra Luminoasă. In an address dated June 16, 1938, the president of the cooperative mentioned that he had contacted the director of the Construction Company “with respects to the availability of 25 houses built in Vatra Luminoasa, for which purpose a written intervention will be made to the Board of the Construction Company”. The plots that left free as a result of abandoning this collaboration were sold.
The Drumul la Tei lotissement was not affected by the urban changes. A testimony comes from one of its oldest inhabitants. Everyday life was dictated by the rhythm of childhood games and the street trade. Between the Cornescu and Drumul la Tei lotissements, the authorities built the Floreasca bus depot, as well as a connecting road.