Fabrica de Chibrituri13/24
Streets: Constantin Miculescu, inginer Dumitru Teodoru, Roznov, Dăișoara, Dragomir Hurmuzescu, Oțelul Roșu
Andrei G. Ioachimescu
The last agreement signed by the Municipal Company before the First World War was with the State Monopoly Authority and provided for the construction of houses for the personnel of the Filaret Match Factory. The Matches Factory workers’ living conditions were similar to those of the Tobacco Manufacture, and the reasons behind the making of this lotissement are explained by the attempts to prevent the spread of tuberculosis.
Approval chronology and lotissement history
The company bought the land in 1915 and started the construction of 132 dwellings based on the lotissement plan signed by Ioachimescu and Mohor. The piece of property had an area of 30,015 square meters, directly adjacent to the Matches Factory and the Military Technical Academy. The company drafted the lotissement by first opening a street on the north-south direction that provided the connection with the Fabrica de Chibrituri street, four additional parallel streets, as well as a perpendicular street, which in 1926 was extended to the Viilor Road. 11 dwellings have been designed for the Ing. Teodoru street, and the rest on the perpendicular streets. The terrain did not have the size necessary to design a complex neighborhood and left little space for public buildings or green spaces. The lotissement was connected to the sewerage system only after 1926, with the extension of Teodoru street. Until 1948, the streets were registered with letters. In this lotissement, the Company used two new types, among which C1 and F, and also designed an apartment building, all three in neo-Romanian style. Type C1 had three rooms on the ground floor, two on the first floor and a bathroom, with an area of 55 sqm. The neo-Romanian ornaments gained in complexity and with that their significance grew. Type F, used by the Company in the extension of Dorobanți as well, indicates the social and professional status of the beneficiaries. The entrance to the house was through a hall with a trilobate arch, above which was the bellevue with wooden pillars, and the windows had frames with Neo-Romanian motifs. A report from 1942 mentioned that “all the houses […] are of the villas type, isolated or semi-detached, ground floor only or with two floors. All homes have electricity, running water and sewerage; a very small part of them have bathrooms”. Moreover, “they have individual courtyards and small gardens varying between 100 and 400 square meters, and the alleys and common green spaces have, in Filaret, 8,000 square meters”.
From a social perspective, the archives do not keep details about the inhabitants, nor if these houses were initially rented or sold directly, but the analysis of marriages published in the Municipal Monitor shows that, between 1927 and 1939, 40% of the beneficiaries were civil servants and only 14% were workers. According to some sources, the factory took into account when distributing the houses to the workers “the total income of the applicant and his family, the number of children, the seniority, the qualification of the clerks and their rank, so that the distribution is done taking into account on the one hand the contribution that the applicant brings to the Administration, and on the other hand the burden of family tasks and lower incomes ”.
The current inhabitants of Fabrica de Chibrituri mentioned important details about the history of the lotissement. The common narrative included an important aspect: the houses were built by “the Swedes” in the 1930s. Undoubtedly, the information is false: the 1927 aerial photograph shows that these houses were already built, and their architecture does not provide enough space for interpretation, having the unmistakable style of the Company. This myth of the Swedes has its importance, because the Romanian state sold the monopoly of the production of matches in the early 1930s, when the Great Crisis hit Bucharest. Swedish investors bought the factory and kept it until 1948, when the communists nationalized it. The testimonies confirm, indirectly, that the inhabitants keep a myth of the construction of houses related to a foreign authority to emphasize their value, since all appreciated the quality of the design and the execution. In October 1948, the new administration changed the names of the streets in the Fabrica de Chibrituri lotissement, renaming them after several dead communist protagonists of the November 8, 1945 rally. Thus, B street became Ion Scorțaru, C street was renamed Ion Şulea, D street became Hălmăgeanu, E street was called Emilia Irsa, F street became Ion Floruță, and G street – Beiu Constantin. Some of the houses were nationalized, and their modernization would continue in a different way. After 1945, the administration appointed a street delegate-a member of the party, to deal with the daily problems in the district. The daily life of the lotissement meant a synchronization with modernity, alongside the public works, such as the street paving, the introduction of the sewerage and drainage system, electricity, as well as the trees planted on the seven streets. Each of the streets had different types of trees, such as chestnuts, acacia trees and poplars. The metal fences and the old mailboxes confirm the uniformity of the lotissement, as a viable sign of the 1930s modernization.