Raion

14/24

Delimitation

Streets: Cornu Caprei, Miletin, Rodiei, Chiparosului, Negoiu, Levănțica, Cerceluș, Hîrșova, Cogâlnic, Cosițelor, Dristorului, Diligenței, intrarea Țiglina, Mircea Bădescu, Nicolae Tudor

Directors

Andrei G. Ioachimescu, N.I. Georgescu, D. Stoica

Architects

Ioan D. Trajanescu, Dimitrie Mohor, Ion Țărușeanu, Dan Ionescu

Construction

1914-1946

At the beginning of 1914, the Municipal Company designed the Raion lotissement, which later became one of its largest projects.

Approval chronology and lotissement history

The land was probably purchased in 1909, by investors Blanc and Pleșoianu, the authors of a project that has not been completed. It was located in the east of Bucharest, between Gura Lupului and Raion streets, which were  at the time in the third sector, third ring. The company submitted the lotissement plans along with the official request and received the approval of the Communal Council at the same meeting with the Lăzureanu lotissement, on March 31, 1914. However, the Communal Council returned to the decision in the July meeting and conditioned the approval of the lotissement by a series of changes, without radically altering the original plan. Initially, the lotissement consisted of three parallel streets, Ismail, Valcov and Orhei, all perpendicular to Calea Raion, open in the north-south direction, and four further streets parallel to Calea Raion, called Reni, Leova, Hârșova and Cogâlnic. The land had 91,700 square meters, and the initial plan included 198 plots of 180 square meters each. Of this area, the streets occupied 29% (26,800 sqm). The names of the streets were given by the Nomenclature Commission in the  February 22, 1915 meeting and they represented places in Bessarabia. Both the name of the lotissement and the six initial streets that made it up denoted the intention of the authorities to familiarize the Bucharest people with these names from Bessarabia, at that time a part of the Tsarist Empire. The construction of the houses in the Raion lotissement started with the first two streets, Valcov and Ismail, where the Company built ten houses and a kindergarten, but it was halted for the same reasons as in the previous lotissements, in the autumn of 1916. Of the ten houses, four were type B1, four were type C and two were type E. Since the Company had to apply for a building permit for each home, the archives still retain some of them. One of them is the one from May 1916, on Ismail Street, where the Company built “four type B1 houses, four type C and two types E, all of them made with massive walls, with roof tiles, according to the plans of the company and on paid for plots”. The Company did not build more than 19 flats by the summer of 1916, and the archives do not explicitly mention data about the new inhabitants of the lotissement.

First expansion

In 1921, the Municipal Company resumed work at the  Raion lotissement, on the basis of the City Hall authorization issued in November 1920. The company built the first four semi-detached houses, of type B1, comprised of ground floor and two rooms, on Ismail Street, based on the plans signed by architect Zimmer. In 1922, the Company also started the construction of the kindergarten on Valcov Street, according to the plans signed by the architect Dimitrie Mohor and the engineer Andrei G. Ioachimescu. Despite the fact that  they do not have a date, these plans seem to indicate that the kindergarten had been designed before the start of the war and was submitted for authorization in 1922. The rough estimate included the list of activities that the Company was going to carry out, such as digging the basement, foundation casting and connection to the sewerage system, yard leveling, concrete and brick masonry, the number and the type of wood for the doors and windows, but also the ornaments on the fascia board and cornice. This data represents a complete guide for understanding the steps to be taken in building  the Company’s houses. The aerial photograph from 1927 shows that the Company had built 66 semi-detached houses (132 apartments) on Vâlcov and Ismail streets.

Second expansion

After 1927, the Raion plot was expanded in several stages. The first expansion began in June 1927, when the City Hall approved the Society’s request for the construction of new housing. The Technical Commission approved this extension in the March 16, 1927 meeting, and the Second Sector City Hall approved it on May 14, 1927. Subsequently, the Company requested to amend the plan on the lotissement on Dristorului-Valcov street and obtained the approval of the Technical Commission on November 22. 1929. In april 1931, the parcel was again extended. By 1933, the Company had completed the construction of all housing on Ismail and Vâlcov streets, a total of 46 semi-detached houses and a kindergarten. In addition, on the Reni, Leova and Orhei streets, the Society built another 46 semi-detached houses and two more housing groups, comprised each of six houses in a row, so 12 more individual homes. Thus, in 1933, the parcel had 196 houses, as shown by a sketch published by Sfințescu and by an aerial photograph published together with the sketch. Ismail and Leova streets were paved by the Municipal Factories in 1929 and 1930 respectively, and a photograph from that period, on Ismail street, confirms this information. At the same time, the photograph on Ismail Street also indicates that the original fences were made of wood pickets, that the commissioned institutions introduced electricity, that the sidewalks were paved and that trees had not yet been planted on these streets. The lots located at the intersections of the streets, where the corner houses had to be designed, which was compulsory according to the alignment regulation, were not built by the Company. The only exceptions were the two buildings erected at the intersection of Reni Street with the perpendicular street projected at its middle section, which joined it to Leova Street. Along the Dristor street or from the extension of Ismail street, the lots remained vacant, most likely the designers considering an eventual widening of these arteries.
The architect Ion Țărușanu designed for this lotissement a series of types of dwellings that were composed of ground floor or two floors, in a different style from that of Trajanescu, with minimal  national style influences. These included the type 100, with an area of ​​only 35.50 square meters, the type that forms a redan (a row of buildings that are successively set back, thus forming courtyards towards the street), with three rooms, vestibule and bathroom (with a surface of 65 sqm), and type 102, with three rooms (59 sqm). Also Țărușanu designed the type 203 (two floors), of 52 sqm, with three rooms on the ground floor and three upstairs, or the type with two grouped houses, which had 98 square meters (four rooms). The construction of houses continued in April 1935, by building six more houses designed by Țărușanu on the grounds of the authorizations issued by the Directorate of Land Register and Systematization. Four of them (two semi-detached houses) were built on Cogâlnic street and another two (one semi-detached house) on Hârșova street (formerly Orhei), where Sfințescu’s sketch of 1933 indicated only two coupled dwellings. These two streets were parallel to Reni and Leova, where the house construction was completed.

The lodgers

As for the beneficiaries of the houses in the lotissement, the marriage records in the Communal Monitors show that the majority were civil servants. Houses costs ranged from 290,000 to 720,000 lei, depending on their size. In 1934, the Company auctioned the two-room house on Leova Street no. 9, at the price of 290,000 lei. In 1931, the house on Reni 33 (ground floor with two rooms) started from the price of 300,000, and in 1933, for the house on Leova no. 34, also with two rooms, the applicants had to pay 320,000 lei. Other larger houses, such as the five-room house on Ismail 11, cost 500,000 lei, and the house in Ismail 22 (with two bedrooms and a living room) cost 700,000 in 1940. The aforementioned are the starting prices, and from this practice of the Company we can deduct that housing would reach those who offered more money for their purchase, and not members of socially vulnerable classes. The last extension of the Raion lotissement was approved by the Superior Commission of the Systematization Plan in June 1941. On the plot between Dristor-Cerceluș (Leova) and Diligenței (Negoiu) streets, the Company built 100 houses on Dan Ionescu’s plans and more on Țiglina and Mircea Bădescu streets (of today), on a land intended for the construction of a church. After the end of the war, the Company also started the construction of the church with Saint Fanurie as the titular saint, on a hallowed ground in January 1943. The architect Dan Ionescu made the initial plans for the lotissement, but it was built on the plans of Dimitrie Ionescu-Berechet.

The construction of the Raion lotissement houses was probably completed around 1944, but later the new authorities modified this area. The front of blocks from the 1970s on Mihai Bravu Boulevard makes it difficult to observe the houses that make up the lotissement. In the west, the opening of Burebista Boulevard and the construction of ten-storey blocks did affect the Municipal Company’s lotissement, but only on the Ismail and Valcov streets, which were almost completely demolished. The street names could not be kept, as they evoked places in Bessarabia. Thus, they were renamed Rodiei, Meletin, Levănțica, Chiparosului, Cerceluș. The parish priest of the Church of St. Fanurie mentioned that the parcel was about to be demolished at the end of the 1980s but was saved at the last moment. After 1989 it was listed on the list of historical monuments. A lot of data on the history of the parcel can be found in the Golden Book of the Church.